Indiana RadioWatch: May 6, 2009

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Other media publications talk about the struggles and challenges of publically owned "Cumulus Media." It is important to understand that "Cumulus Media" is not the same as "Cumulus Media Partners" which contains the radio stations in Indianapolis and Louisville (and other places) that were formerly Susquehanna stations. Cumulus Media Partners is privately owned, so we know little about the sales performance of their Indianapolis or Louisville stations.

Now, onto the news...


The Clear Channel story whereby they are dropping Arbitron ratings in Lima, Ohio (Market 255) may prove interesting. First, there is confusion on whether Lima was even dropped. Clear Channel said they were dropping Lima, yet Arbitron says they are in agreement that Lima will still be covered. We also noticed that Clear Channel owns five of the top six performing stations (12+). However, Fort Wayne stations also appear in the Lima Arbitrons; most notably Federated Media's Rock/WBYR (98.9fm, Woodburn).

Northeast Indiana Public Radio's NPR affiliate News-Jazz/WBOI (89.1fm, Fort Wayne) adds more to newsperson Phil Shaull's plate. Shaull is now hosting a local talkshow called "Midday Matters," which airs weekdays between Noon and 1:00PM. Each day has a different theme. Monday is a "news review," Tuesday pertains to finance, Wednesday is devoted to health, Thursday focuses on the outdoors, and Friday discusses the arts. This show replaces NPR's "Day to Day."

Dave Michaels returns to Federated Media's Maples Road building, after a lengthy recovery from a hit-and-run automobile accident. Michaels is voicetracking his airshift. Michaels is MD at Country/WQHK (105.1fm, Decatur) and Assistant FM OM of WQHK and Hot AC/WMEE (97.3fm, Fort Wayne). Also, a local woman was arrested, suspected of causing Michaels' accident. Fort Wayne Police arrested 22 year old Chloe Bates and she is now charged with one count of failure to stop after an accident resulting in injury or death. Bates is currently out on bail.

No word this week on the bids submitted for Religious/WLAB (88.3fm, Fort Wayne). We hear the Indiana District Lutheran Church (Missouri Synod) was looking for a seven figure offer from interested parties.

Northeast Indiana Public Radio's Classical/WBNI (94.1fm, Roanoke) was off the air on Friday (1 May) and Saturday (2 May) due to a broken doorknob capacitor. IRW was told that when CE Ed Didier removed the doorknob capacitor from the transmitter, it had burn marks on it.


Bart Schacht exits as Director of Sales for Artistic Media/South Bend.


LIN Television CBS affiliate WLFI-TV (Channel 18/DT11, Lafayette) replaces Chief Meteorologist Mike Prangley with Chad Evans. Evans moves up from Terre Haute, where he was on the weather team for about three years at LIN sister station WTHI-TV (Channel 10/DT24). Evans starts at WLFI-TV on Monday 11 May.


The FCC chooses 94.1fm as a new allocation (Class A), licensed to Worthington. They rejected a proposal by Bruce Quinn for 94.1FM (also Class A) licensed to Oolitic. Comments on this application are due by 8 June, with reply comments due by 23 June. The Worthington application won, as that would provide first local service to Worthington (whereas Oolitic has Mid-America's WMYJ-FM on 88.9fm). A CP is already filed for 94.1fm by Dean Spencer, who is president of Ad-Venture Media, which owns Bedford radio stations WBIW (1340am) and WQRK (105.5fm). If the CP is built as written, the transmitter will be located southeast of Bloomfield, east of US-231.

Radio Spotlight

This week, we sit down with Terre Haute's Bill Cain.

Name: Bill Cain
Job Title: Operations Manager
Owner: Midwest Communications

1. Who were your early DJ or radio station influences?

Todd Holman, Mark Edwards, Linda from the Brown Bag Hall of Fame & the whole gang at 107.5 WZZQ were my heroes. I especially remember a bit from the mid to late 80's..."Mr. Rambo's Neighborhood" that was one of my favorites. It was a great battle between Power 103 and 107.5. was great radio! That great theatre of the mind is what got me started in radio and WZZQ was my first radio station.

2. What makes your stations unique?

We are the Purple Cows in the market. Among all of the radio stations in the market...when you look at us...we stand out.

I will talk about the two stations that I am the Program Director for as well as Ops Mgr.

WMGI - 100.7 MIX-FM - Heritage CHR with live local DJ's in the building. We believe that the listener is #1 and their opinions count. We still play requests, we show up at local event for free...because we should, we spend the money to get quality people in positions where they can make us the best radio station possible & everyone that works there is like family. I know...hard to believe...but it's true.

WIBQ - Terre Haute's News / Talk 98.5 WIBQ is the first FM News / Talk in the area and is on a 50,000 watt stick. It has the biggest and best names in talk radio on it...need I say more.

3. What makes the Terre Haute market unique?

Location, location, location! It is small enough that you can get your first gig here and learn the business. It's big enough to launch you to a Louisville, St. Louis, or similar, and in my case it is just the right size to come back to and settle into a great position with a great company with no plans to move again.

4. Who are your mentor(s)?

These days when I am looking for advice I like to think that I have two of the best people in the business to help me out. It is important to be versatile in this day and age and having someone on the business (sales) and programming side for advice is key. Alan Beck, VP & GM with Saga Communications in Champaign, IL is one of my mentors and a good friend. Jeff McCarthy, VP of Programming with Midwest Communications is another one of the great ones. The one thing that stands out to me about both of these professionals is that they are just down to earth people that get the job done. No ego, no God complex...just good common sense!

5. What's the best advice you'd give to those wanting to get into radio?

Be well rounded! You need to know a lot about everything. You will need to know computer graphics, promotions, copywriting, sales skills, management skills, production skills & after you get all that down it doesn't hurt to have a great set of pipes. Find someone early that is successful and learn as much as you can from them. Ask them to teach you and if they are really good...they will. The main thing these days is to be well rounded and know that you are going to have to be great at a lot of different things in order to excel in this business and it may take years to get to that point.

6. Where do you see the radio industry five years from now?

I see it as much more personal that it is today. The big companies that were making all of their money through acquisitions and cutting staff have now topped out and are on their way out. In order for our industry to survive I believe we will have to see a lot more of the smaller owners that are able to work within their own communities and re-build the relationships that existed in the late 80's - early 90's. Radio must become more personal and local if we are going to survive in this age of social networking and ipods. This will also mean that we will have to adjust to the times and become very active in social networking and very interactive in ways radio has not normally done in the past. Static radio websites are a thing of the past.

7. What's the most important issue in radio today?

Sales! Sales! & More Sales! In this economy, we are being torn apart because of the bottom line. Sales are not being made and that is causing very talented people to be released due to budget cuts. The sales departments these days have to be well trained and well staffed. In a lot of cases you find that the sales staffs are under paid, under trained & under appreciated. Time and time again you will see people hired in, quickly trained to get them out on the street as fast as possible and then being ridden hard because they are not producing. Put the effort in to hiring quality people, train them well & give them the tools to succeed. There is usually one reason for sales people not performing after a year...they weren't trained well and that falls on the Sales Manager and General Manager.

8. What's your favorite out-of-market radio station, and why?

Extra 99.1 (WXTT) in Champaign, IL has got to be my favorite radio station out of market. It's not really a secret why...I was the PD there for 3 1/2 years and launched it as Everything That Rocks. The APD there is Zack Hunter and he was my APD when I was there...great guy...great product.

9. Who is your favorite air personality that isn't working for you?

Like I just said...Zack Hunter at Extra 99.1 (WXTT). This guy is awesome because he is not a DJ in any way shape or form...and he'll tell you that. In his words "I'm a regular dude that gets paid to be an idiot." That is not a negative at all...he's great and says what is on his mind and doesn't really worry about how it comes out and he connects with the audience that way. I wish I could do what he's a gift.

10. What have you read that has taught you the most about the radio business?

It is a book that is about any business but it has influenced me greatly in how I think about radio and radio stations that I orogram. The Purple Cow by Seth Godin. Read it, learn it, live it and you will be successful!

Bonus Question: What's your biggest pet peeve in radio?

It is consultants in general. I don't believe in them. If your programming staff isn't talented or capable enough to program the station where they hired the wrong programmer. I really can't stand it when someone who lives in San Francisco is trying to tell me what music is hot in Indiana or what my listeners are really interested in. Hire quality people and you will never need a consultant.

That's all for this issue. Thank you for your continued support.

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