Clear Channel putting more Non-Local programming on stations


Yesterday Clear Channel Radio CEO John Hogan announced a new programming initiative which he says will make the company’s most popular programming available to PDs in all markets to use across various stations and platforms to help with underperforming dayparts. So, while we can expect even less local hosts behind the mic, CC insists local PDs will have “total choice and flexibility” in choosing which elements to use from what’s being dubbed the “Premium Choice” initiative. They can elect large portions, single pieces, or none of the offered programming.

The mandate is improve your performance—if the existing talent roster is bringing in top ratings, no changes at all may be needed. Premium Choice is an ongoing analysis tool that identifies CC Radio’s most effective content across music genres and on-air talent and presents significant expansion opportunities for both. Content and talent are selected on the stations’ request for the program based on the evaluation of new PPM-based reports and data. Hogan says they’re trying to find a cost-effective way to improve the ratings in all dayparts for all of their stations, more than a cost-cutting move.

CC Radio is also launching new channels of genre-specific programming and expanding opportunities for new artists. Central to the plan is an expansion of programming currently being created for local station websites, the iheartradio mobile broadcast application for iPhone and BlackBerry, and HD2 multicasts. The new channels will focus on either a specific music genre or specific on-air personality.

Launching imminently in the genre category are “Country Road” and “Soft Rock.”  They join existing channels including erockster, Pride, smooth jazz, slow jams, and others (Remember, though CC Radio’s Format Lab used to have 75 formats – that was reduced about a year ago to the handful HD2 formats you see now). CC tells us more formats are in the works, however.

In the personality-driven side, new channels for Kidd Kraddick and Lex & Terry are on tap, joining already channels focused on AT40 (Ryan Seacrest), Elvis Duran and JohnJay and Rich.

Another element is the expansion of the company’s programming showcasing new, local and unsigned music artists. Select stations will add to existing new-music shows (e.g., urban, some country and some rock), and some stations will also develop customized shows.

In addition, the company will expand its highly acclaimed NEW! program for new, local and unsigned artists available to its mobile broadcasting application, iheartradio. More than 15,000 new, local and unsigned artists have been promoted to millions of online and on-demand listeners through the program. NEW! is currently available on hundreds of local-station websites.

RBR/TVBR observation: We really think integrating local and unsigned music artists into all aspects of the stations, including the regular playlist for some stations and/or onto an HD-2 format altogether, is a key element to achieving localism. So that part of this effort is promising. How about some local musicians being integrated into the liners and imaging? Just a thought.

But bottom line, CC Radio says this is all about increasing ratings. That’s a tough road if underperforming dayparts at hundreds of stations are replaced with someone who is not live and behind a mic that’s 2,000 miles away.

Go back radio’s roots and try some local talent and do not tell anyone in radio you can not find talent. And how about an interactive contest to pick audience members for regular shifts (no it’s not a high-paying gig). We know that’s been done before, but keep it in mind it is called Creativity not Cost Cutting.

Publisher note: Let’s get real here on talent. Tell me talent can not be found? Bull. What about the 2,000 people CC fired a few months back? Can not tell me that those people did not have talent. No matter what spin anyone puts on this to anyone in radio with 3 months of experience knows syndication when they hear it or see it.

Now if CC gives the PD the option of letting go a poor non-performing talent for syndication to fill a void but CC you let that PD retain the salary of that fired talent to REINVEST into other areas of the station or cluster like news, marketing and little research to bolster that cluster then this is excellent business. [Called common sense.]

But what the radio business has witnessed over the past 10 years is all about cost cutting and bottom line. The main reason the radio business is in the tank.

And guess what and the old saying applies – What Runs Down Hill? Well if you are a vendor, business that has services etc to sell to radio then you too are at the bottom of the food chain because of cost cutting. Wake up it is not too late to reinvent our medium called radio.

Related report – CC Radio: Less local programming = more local PSAs

RBR/TVBR observation: Or here is a better idea, how about increasing the local news department.

Related Reports follow the pattern:
4/20/09 – Clear Channel waxes Congress
4/20/09 – Early peek at Clear Channel’s numbers
4/17/09 – The Clear Channel mirror
4/16/-09 – CC Radio: Less local programming = more local PSAs
4/16/09 – Clear Channel putting more Non-Local programming on stations
4/14/09 – Clear Channel adding syndicated programming in local markets