FCC To Top Market Stations—Open Those Files. The days of maintaining public inspection files in a dusty file cabinet will soon be over for stations in the 50 largest Nielsen Audio markets with five or more fulltime employees. Those will be the first stations required to migrate their public and political files online under modernized public inspection file rules adopted by the FCC yesterday. Responding to a request by the National Association of Broadcasters, all other radio stations won’t be subject to the new rules until March 1, 2018 although they’ll be able to begin posting earlier if they voluntarily choose to. Yesterday’s Report and Order also applies to satellite radio companies and cable and satellite TV operators. The Commission adopted online public file rules for broadcast television stations in 2012, which completed their transition to the online file in July 2014. The new rules, which are expected to go into effect in the next 3-6 months, include some measures to minimize the effort and cost of moving files from station facilities to an online system. Only public documents not already on file with, or maintained by, the FCC in its own database will need to be uploaded. The Commission will include documents it already has on file in the online file. Archived political file material will also be exempt from the online requirement. Stations will only need to upload new political file documents. And once stations have fully transitioned to the online file, they won’t have to maintain a local public file, as long as they provide online access to back-up political file material via their own website in case the FCC’s online file database crashes.
Public File Rules Finally Ready For Digital Age. The way commissioner Ajit Pai sees it, the FCC is “putting the public back into the public file.” Thanks to new rules adopted yesterday, people won’t have to make a special trip to a station to access info about its programming and operations, compliance with FCC rules and candidate requests for political advertising time. Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel applauded the move for modernizing “retrograde” rules that “may have made sense in the ‘Mad Men’ era but make no sense in the digital age.” But as chairman Tom Wheeler noted, there was “a lot of give and take” among the commissioners before they reached a majority vote. “The product is stronger as a result,” Wheeler said. Pai, for instance, expressed concerns about smaller broadcasters throughout the proceeding. The new rules “cut them some important slack,” he said Thursday. Not only do they have two years to get on board with the online file requirement, but the commission “will give serious consideration” to waiver requests filed by stations with fewer than five employees. Pai also voiced reservations about requiring noncommercial educational (NCE) stations to include in their online public file lists of donors supporting specific programs. The National Religious Broadcasters told the commission that would discourage people from making donations out of fear of retaliation, Pai said. As a result, NCEs will be allowed to seek waivers of this requirement if they believe that posting donor names online would discourage financial support for particular shows. Weighing In—Commissioners Clyburn and O’Rielly offer their own take on the new rules; get the full report at InsideRadio.com.
Kelly Takes Reins At Nielsen Radio Biz. Matt O’Grady’s promotion to CEO of Nielsen Catalina Solutions has created the opening for Brad Kelly to be the measurement giant’s top executive for its radio business. Kelly, currently senior VP/sales director, radio will assume O’Grady’s management responsibilities for Nielsen Audio. A second-generation broadcaster, Kelly has worked in sales and client relations with Nielsen Audio and predecessor Arbitron for nearly 18 years. He joined Arbitron as VP, radio group sales in March 1998 before being promoted to VP in September 2005 and to senior VP in September 2007. His promotion marks the first time a former Arbitron exec has been in the top spot at Nielsen Audio since Nielsen bought Arbitron in September 2013. Since then, that role has been held by O’Grady as executive VP & managing director of local media, responsible for strategy and development for Nielsen’s local television and audio clients. Now O’Grady’s local media responsibilities will be split between two Nielsen execs with Kelly assuming management duties for radio and Jeff Wender, currently senior VP for the company’s Digital Practice Group, in charge of Nielsen’s local TV business. Since joining Nielsen more than 15 years ago, O’Grady has held numerous executive positions within the company, including executive VP of media product leadership and president of Nielsen Claritas (now Consumer Activation). In 2013, in addition to leading local television and local agencies, O’Grady assumed responsibility for Nielsen’s local radio business when the company closed on its $1.26 billion purchase of Arbitron and integrated the three entities to create a single Local Media Group. Before joining Nielsen, he held management positions with National Decision Systems, AT&T and the Daniel Yankelovich Group. Right Exec, Right Experience—Nielsen COO Steve Hasker sees O’Grady driving performance and innovation for the company; get the full story at InsideRadio.com.
Streaming Hit New Heights in 2015 Numbers. Online music streaming hit all-time highs in 2015, according to new data from Triton Digital. Between Jan.-Dec. 2015, average active sessions (AAS) grew 13.3% for the prime Mon.-Fri., 6am-8pm daypart and increased 13.6% for the Mon.-Sun., 6am-12am daypart. Mobile listening is driving the growth, with mobile streaming up 22.2% for the Mon.-Fri., 6am-8pm daypart from Jan.-Dec. 2015, while desktop listening inched up 5.2%. In addition, the holiday season was bright for music streaming, with online listening for Christmas music formats surging 321.5% in December, when compared to November 2015. That trend is typical for the end of the year, as many radio stations flip to a holiday music format after Thanksgiving. Other formats saw more modest listening gains in December, with oldies up 29%, modern AC up 25.1%, AC up 17.4%, modern rock increasing 14% and CHR up 10.6%. Across formats, listening during Mon.-Fri., 6am-8pm dropped 13.4% during Christmas week, compared to the three previous weeks. Pureplay listening fell 10.4% during that period, compared to a 33.8% drop for broadcast streams. In December, the top markets for gains in online streaming were Seattle (+ 5.8%), Orlando (+ 3.8%), Pittsburgh (+ 3%) and Baltimore (+ 2.2%). For December, Triton clients registered 4.465 million AAS in the Mon.-Fri., 6am-8pm daypart, and 3.765 million AAS in the Mon.-Sun., 6am-12am period. Among individual services, Pandora ranked as no. 1 in December, based on domestic monthly rankers and AAS during the prime Mon.-Fri., 6am-8pm daypart, with 2.51 million AAS, followed by Spotify, with 1.09 million AAS, and iHeartRadio, which registered 408,063 AAS. Other broadcasters in the top ten included no. 4 Cumulus (51,999), no. 5 CBS Radio (51,414), no. 6 NPR Member Stations (44,824) and Entercom (22,961).
FCC Proposes New EAS Rules. Radio and TV got props from FCC commissioners yesterday for keeping them informed as a massive blizzard shut Washington down earlier this week. The kudos came during the commission’s January Open Meeting, where new rules were proposed to strengthen the Emergency Alert System. The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking adopted yesterday would streamline the online filing process for state emergency alert plans and increase EAS testing under real-life conditions. Federal, state and local governments would be allowed to issue PSAs using the EAS Attention Signal as long as they’re presented in “a non-misleading and technically harmless manner.” Along with the new proposals, the commission is seeking public comments on whether EAS participants should be required to submit an annual EAS certification. It’s also considering how to exploit technology advances and how to improve the security of the EAS system. Toward that end, switching to a single EAS distribution method in place of separate protocols for broadcast and Internet delivery is under consideration. And the notice asks how alerting exercises can best meet the needs of individuals with limited English proficiency and disabilities. Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel and chairman Tom Wheeler gave the proposals full-throated endorsements. Wheeler said it would be a “tragedy beyond comprehension” to ignore how technology is changing the way people receive information. “When 63% of the American people get their information from Facebook and Twitter, we ought to be asking ourselves…are we keeping up,” Wheeler said. While “generally supportive,” commissioner Michael O’Rielly dissented in part. O’Rielly worries that EAS testing could become “so pervasive that people start ignoring them.” He also expressed skepticism about EAS “inclusion in every communications mechanism,” such as online games and emerging video platforms such as Netflix and Hulu.
Nielsen Cracks Down On Duplicate Diaries. Nielsen will revise and re-issue its Fall 2015 ratings for Bakersfield after determining that three diaries returned from one household reflected the listening of only one household member. The two “duplicate” diaries will be deleted from the in-tab sample and the revised report will be issued Tuesday February 2 at around 9am Pacific time. Nielsen says that audience estimates for Lotus Communications regional Mexican “Radio Lobo” KIWI (102.9), which received listening in the diaries, will be affected. “Report users should note that we have no reason to believe the household was affiliated with any media entity,” Nielsen said in a memo to clients on Thursday afternoon. Audience estimates for other stations may be “slightly affected” due to sample rebalancing needed whenever a diary is deleted from the in-tab sample, Nielsen said. Audience estimates for the market will be unavailable via Nielsen Audio Web applications from Monday, Feb. 1, at 12pm Pacific until revised audience estimates are released the following morning.
Trump Super PAC Set For Pre-Iowa Radio Runs. Despite consistently bragging that his presidential campaign is self-funded, a pro-Donald Trump Super PAC ad campaign is scheduled to run on radio just days before the Iowa caucuses. TrumPAC is spending in the mid-five figures to air the spots, according to Politico, and more money may be added in the days before Monday’s caucuses. Ironically, the commercial’s focus praises the businessman for having no ties to lobbyists and/or donors, while saying he is “capable of making the deals” the country needs. The ad launches amid increased pressure from competitor Ted Cruz in the Iowa caucus. Politico reports some of the copy for the one-minute commercial, which spotlights Amy Kremer, a tea party leader and cofounder of the super PAC. “I’m excited to tell you about something that’s happening across the nation. Conservatives are rallying around Donald Trump for president. They know he’s not beholden to the lobbyists, donors and political insiders,” it says. The spot then refers to endorsements for Trump, including one from Sarah Palin. TrumPAC has said that the ad is a direct response to attack ads from a newly formed anti-Trump Super PAC founded by a former top Mitt Romney aide, Katie Packer. Our American Principles, on Tuesday, launched a seven-figure TV buy targeting Trump, alongside radio ads and mailers.
More News, Better Updates—Get the Industry’s Full Story at InsideRadio.com. Jonesy’s Jukebox, Still Hot As a Pistol, Adds Middays… Spotify Looks To Raise $500M In Investments… Blackhawks Sticking With WGN Chicago… Read these and other stories as they happen at InsideRadio.com, your online destination for breaking news.
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