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Archives » May 2012

Your Logo As A Stamp: Postal Service Launches Custom Indicia

Published 1 year, 10 months ago

 

In response to customer requests (and after nearly a year of beta testing), the U.S. Postal Service has launched of the Picture Permit Imprint Indicia program for commercial mailers. USPS claims the program provides new advertising opportunities for commercial mail customers by allowing them to use corporate logos, product visuals or other brand images in the permit indicia space on their mail.

The Picture Permit Imprint Indicia program is open to commercial mailers of presorted First-Class Mail letters and cards or Standard Mail letters. The premium for First-Class Mail letters and cards will be 1 cent per piece, and for Standard Mail letters, 2 cents per piece.

The program has been in a beta test for nearly a year, with Chrysler as one of its early adopters. It used a Picture Perfect indicia on direct mailers for its Jeep® 70th Anniversary campaign in May 2011.

"Dozens of our largest customers looking to increase brand awareness and increase the effectiveness of their mail have asked us to allow more creativity in the design of their permit indicia," said Gary Reblin, vice president, Domestic Products. "Permit indicia enhanced with logos, photos or other brand images increase the visual impact of the mailpiece as well as its open rate and value."

The Picture Permit Imprint Indicia program launches officially June 24. According to Reblin, however, "Due to the expected popularity of the program, we are launching the website now and encouraging customers to get started,” in a four-step permit process.

Univision Radio Launches National AM Network, “Univision America”

Published 1 year, 10 months ago

Univision Radio, a leading radio company serving Hispanics in the U.S., has announced the launch of its new AM radio network, Univision America. The network will include radio stations in nine markets across the country, featuring local, national and international news, weather and traffic updates, as well as shows focused on the issues that matter most to Hispanics, including current events, health and family, finances, education, sports, and entertainment.

For advertisers, it appears there cannot be enough Spanish-language inventory. Spanish-language TV was up 8.3% year-over-year in 2011, versus 2.4% for TV overall. Spanish-language magazines were up 24.9% YoY, defying a 0.4% decline for all magazines. Arbitron's "Hispanic Radio Today" study released in November found that radio's reach among both English and Spanish dominant Hispanics is between 95% and 96%. As Billboard described, Hispanics in almost every demo and age group over-indexed in radio consumption compared to non Hispanics, spending nearly 14.5 hours a week listening to radio.

“As the leading Spanish-language radio network in the country, Univision Radio has served Hispanic audiences by bringing them best-in-class programming,” said Jose Valle, president of Univision Radio. “Univision America reinforces our commitment to continue empowering the Hispanic community by offering listeners unparalleled access to local, national and international news and information.”

Univision America will be available in Miami, Chicago, Houston, Dallas, McAllen, El Paso, San Antonio, Las Vegas and Los Angeles, featuring a combination of news segments, local programming and insightful commentary delivered by some of Univision Radio’s most revered personalities and new talent.

Univision Radio Network claims to be the #1 Spanish Radio network in the country, and in major markets, it is home to stations that rank #1 in any language. Univision Radio’s portfolio currently includes 69 owned and operated stations in 16 markets, including all top 10 markets reaching more than 16 million listeners a week.

RBR-RTV adds that “Hopefully it will add more excitement to Hispanic network radio." If Univision gives their well-known Hispanic talents/franchises their own shows and properly promotes them, "the medium will get more visibility."

 

Upfront TV: More “Iron Men” | CBS Bieber Special | SB XLLVII Selling Out | Grammys Date Set

Published 1 year, 10 months ago

 

  • The Weather Channel Companies has ordered a full season of “Iron Men,” a docu-series profiling the iron workers who spend their days battling weather conditions hundreds of feet above New York City to build skyscrapers, bridges, arenas and other major structures. In addition to the four episodes currently airing, nine new episodes have been ordered that will premiere later this year. New episodes will take place at the 4 World Trade Center site in addition to the Barclays Center, the new home of the Brooklyn Nets, and the Alexander Hamilton Bridge. “Iron Men” is produced by Pipeline39 (formerly known as KPI), the producers of “The Rising: Rebuilding Ground Zero,” “MonsterQuest” and “MegaStructures.” “Iron Men” first premiered on May 8, 2012, as part of “Braving the Elements,” a new docu-series anthology revealing the work, subculture and characters of professions exposed to theelements and impacted by the weather. The series will now be a standalone series outside of “Braving the Elements,” moving into its own timeslot on Thursday, Aug. 30, at 9 P.M. ET.

  • CBS has already sold more than 50% of its ad inventory the 2013 Super Bowl XLVII broadcast, and expects to reach 80% in the next few weeks, reports Ad Age. John Bogusz, exec VP for sports sales and marketing at CBS, told Ad Age that the pace of sales is being pushed by automotive marketers. So CBS is feeling no pinch from GM, which announced that it will not advertise. GM complained about the $3.8 million-per-thirty-second pricetag and put its ad dollars elsewhere—like the UK. Citing its global marketing thrust, GM has signed a five-year sponsorship deal with the UK’s champion Manchester United football club.

  • NBC has announced “Justin Bieber: All Around the World,” a one-hour special featuring the teen idol, to air Thursday, June 21st from 8-9 P.M. ET. Bieber’s first-ever network special will be a combination documentary/performance show, following his tour around the globe as he showcases his new album “Believe,” including #1 single “Boyfriend.” CBS is promising viewers “an all access pass to his life over a 12-day period, something rarely seen on TV today.” A “Justin-cam” will allow viewers to experience “what life is like through the eyes of Justin Bieber.” In addition to worldwide sales in excess of 15 million units, Bieber has more than 43 million Facebook fans, more than 22 million Twitter followers, and over 2.9 billion YouTube views.

  • Next year’s 55th Annual Grammy Awards will take place on Sunday, February 10 at Los Angeles’ Staples Center, reports Deadline Hollywood. CBS will air the Awards from 8-11:30 PM (live ET/delayed PT). CBS will also air “The Grammy Nominations Concert Live!” on December 5. This year’s 54th Grammy Awards, which followed Whitney Houston’s death, drew 39.9 million viewers, which was the largest Grammy audience since 1984 and the second-largest in history.
  • Grammy -winning rock group No Doubt, with lead singer Gwen Stefani, will perform together live for the first time in a year-and-a-half July 22 at the TEEN CHOICE 2012 Awards on FOX. The California-based band last shared the stage in 2010 when they performed for President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, at the annual Kennedy Center Honors. No Doubt bassist Tony Kanal reports being “so stoked.” TEEN CHOICE 2012 will celebrate “the hottest teen icons” in television, music, film, sports, fashion, comedy and the web in “the choicest”  two-hour event airing live Sunday, July 22 (8:00-10:00 P.M. ET live/PT tape-delayed) on FOX.

Augmented Reality For Print, Without Tags Or Codes

Published 1 year, 10 months ago

Women’s lingerie maker Maidenform will use augmented reality (AR) to introduce its Comfort Devotion line of bras, panties and shapewear later this year, reports Marketing Daily. Maidenform will use technology from Aurasma, which provides image-recognition software.

Aurasma made news earlier this month with the June issue of Popular Science, the first monthly U.S. consumer magazine to “bring an editorial feature to life,” said Aurasma in a statement, by “[uniting] the physical and virtual worlds to deliver a unique and interactive experience for readers.” The June issue is the Popular Science annual Invention Awards issue, which profiles ten inventors of potentially world-changing technologies.

What Aurasma does differently from QR codes is that its image recognition software requires no code, tag or marketr at all. So the publisher can augment reality without sacrificing space or disrupting the reader. By aiming an iPad, iPhone or Android smartphone or tablet at certain pages in the magazine, readers can activate an "Aura" — an augmented reality action, such as a video or slideshow, overlaid on a static image. The reader can also use the in-app "screen capture" button to share the augmented reality experience via Facebook or Twitter, making it possible for others to see the digital overlay even without the magazine.

"Our June issue is already bursting with information, and this technology allows us to go ahead and overflow the riverbank," said Popular Science editor in chief Jake Ward. "It's for anyone who has ever wondered what it would be like to meet someone from our pages in real life. Aurasma has a very powerful effect on readers - it's like being able to step into the magazine's content and walk around."

Maidenform will use the Aurasma application for in-store displays and advertising to compare, for example, the racerback version of one bra versus the strapless version of another. The Maidenform product will not launch until December, but thus far, Popular Science is delighted with augemented reality. “The consumer wants more digital marketing,” Lucille DeHart, Maidenform’s CMO told Marketing Daily. “She’s very connected through all her devices. They empowers her to shop the way she wants to shop. So we need to be where she is, and give her that flexibility.”

Ace Metrix: Funding Round Tops Off Month Of Wins, Product Releases

Published 1 year, 10 months ago

Ace Metrix, which bills itself as “the new standard in television and video analytics,” has announced the completion of an $8 million round of financing from WPP, Hummer Winblad Venture Partners, Leapfrog Ventures, and Palomar Ventures. Ace Metrix will use the new funds to further accelerate its rapid growth, continue its focus on innovation and product development, and expand into new markets.

The company claims 25% of national television advertisers as clients, and is aggressively pursuing 100% growth through 2012. Just a week ago, Ace Metrix added Samsung to that client roster: Samsung has subscribed to the company’s Ace Metrix LIVE platform, which provides immediate delivery of Ace Scores and the 12,000+ associated data points for every ad in the competitive mobile devices category. Samsung also signed on to use the Ace Metrix PRE service to test ads prior to release, which gives Samsung the ability to adjust creative or media placement using detailed demographic, ethnographic, and psychographic data.

Just two weeks ago, Ace Metrix introduced Ace Metrix TARGET, which allows advertisers to identify specific key audiences and access creative ad performance data for their ads and their competitors. Ace Metrix TARGET adds a layer of granular intelligence to Ace Metrix LIVE. TARGET leverages the same methodology and scoring dimensions of Ace Metrix LIVE, but augments it with specific demographic, ethnographic, and psychographic profiles. As Peter Daboll, CEO of Ace Metrix described, TARGET provides “Exceptional detail and surprising degrees of comparability about how ads perform among critical targets such as technologists, automotive intenders, gamers, and business travelers– for their ads and their competitors’.”

“Ace Metrix continues to impress us with their ability to push the envelope on innovation,” said Pete Sinclair, Managing Director, Leapfrog Ventures, and Managing Director Ann Winblad of Hummer Winblad Venture Partners remarked that “Ace Metrix delivers highly valuable and actionable analytics to the $71B TV advertising sector and the emerging video advertising segment. This is a substantial market opportunity and Ace Metrix has taken the leadership position.”

ur services by many of the most respected brands in the industry – a list that represents the top 25% of national television advertisers," said Peter Daboll, CEO of Ace Metrix. "We are on track to continue our 100% growth rate through 2012 and this new financing will allow us to further extend our portfolio of products and services to key adjacent markets while scaling our business infrastructure and sales and client services teams to meet the demands of our clients.”

Upfront TV: TV Twitter Stars | Chiklis, Hudson’s “Pops” | Lifetime’s Lecter Series

Published 1 year, 10 months ago
  • This matters, if “social TV” takes wing. Ad Age has identified new TV shows with “top Twitter stars,” using data from social-media analytics company Networked Insights. The five most-followed actors on Twitter include Dane Cook who will star in NBC’s “Next Caller,” Matthew Perry (?!) on NBC’s “Go On,” with Anthony Anderson (“Guys With Kids,” NBC), Robert Buckley (“666 Park Ave,” ABC) and Max Adler (“Last Resort,” ABC) rounding out the five. The five most-followed women include Mindy Kaling (“The Mindy Project,” FOX), Ashley Greene (“Infamous,” NBC), Sophia Bush (“Partners,” CBS), Reba McIntire (“Malibu Country,” ABC) and Meagan Good (“Infamous,” NBC). Dane Cook, star of NBC's "Next Caller," has by far the most Twitter followers (more than 2.8 million) of anyone carrying a new series.
  • There will be two “Silence of the Lambs”-inspired shows on TV, according to Indie Wire. Lifetime is developing “Clarice,” based on the character portrayed by Jodie Foster in “Lambs,” which will cover her early career (before meeting Hannibal “The Cannibal” Lecter). No announcement as to air dates, but “Lambs” fans can watch “Hannibal” on NBC this fall, which follows the yet-to-be-caught Lecter as he dines on strangers and helps FBI profiler Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) solve crimes.
  • Actor Michael Chiklis (“The Shield”) will host, and singer Jennifer Hudson will perform when CBS covers the “Boston Pops Firework Spectacular” on July 4 10:00-11:00 P.M., live ET/delayed PT. This is the second year for Boston-area native Chiklis to host the broadcast, now in its 39th year. Hudson will perform some of her biggest hits with the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra under the direction of conductor Keith Lockhart. The entire concert will be broadcast in HD (high definition), courtesy of Liberty Mutual Insurance. In addition, the final 20 minutes of the broadcast, featuring the spectacular fireworks display, will be presented commercial-free by Liberty Mutual Insurance.

  • ABC will debut its true-crime limited series “Final Witness” beginning Wednesday, June 27 at 10:00—11:00 P.M. ET. Each episode examine one case from start to finish, taking viewers inside the murder from the victim’s point of view. A hybrid of documentary and drama, “Final Witness” features interviews with real-life witnesses, prosecutors, law enforcement, family and friends, along with riveting dramatization that thrusts viewers into the heart of each crime. Shot around the world at the actual locations with cinematic style and infused with an indie-band soundtrack, ABC promises that “Final Witness” creates an Unforgettable look at the human psyche at its darkest. In the series premiere, “The Kids Aren’t Alright,” the program revisits the cold-blooded murders of almost every member of the Caffey family in rural East Texas.

  • A French court has dismissed a copyright lawsuit against Google and YouTube, a case that “has parallels with the long-running struggle between YouTube and Viacom in the United States,” reports the New York Times. France’s Tribunal de Grande Instance declared that YouTube has made adequate efforts to remove programming like “Heroes” and “Grey’s Anatomy” from YouTube, for which France’s TF1 owns French broadcast rights. TF1 sought $176 million in damages and (humiliatingly) must pay Google’s $100,000+ legal expenses. Google lost a similar suit in Germany and Italy, while in the US, an appeals court has revived a copyright suit brought by Viacom.

TV Land Summer Upfront: Original Comedies, Cedric The Entertainer, Shirlay MacLaine and “‘70s Show”

Published 1 year, 10 months ago

TV Land gave Bette White her career re-launch with "Hot In Cleveland," which premiered in Summer 2010. So when this channel that was once devoted solely to reruns announces its summer slate, advertisers take note.

The TV Land summer slate launches on June 1 with two nights of original sitcoms including “The Soul Man,” starring Cedric “The Entertainer” and Niecy Nash, the returning series “The Exes” starring Donald Faison, Wayne Knight, David Alan Basche, Kelly Stables and Kristen Johnston, and “Retired At 35” starring George Segal, Jessica Walter, Marissa Jaret Winokur, Johnathan McClain and Josh McDermitt. TV Land also plans to air the “AFI Life Achievement Award Honoring Shirley MacLaine” and syndicated reruns of “That ‘70s Show.”

TV Land’s original scripted sitcoms – “Hot In Cleveland,” “Happily Divorced,” “The Exes” and “Retired At 35” – have each posted double and triple-digit gains over the network’s primetime average. “Hot In Cleveland,” the network’s first original sitcom starring Valerie Bertinelli, Jane Leeves, Wendie Malick and Betty White, won two consecutive Screen Actors Guild Awards for White for her role as “Elka,” a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination for the cast, and an Emmy Award nomination for White for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series. Additionally, “Retired At 35” was nominated for an Emmy Award in 2011 for Outstanding Cinematography for a Multi-Camera Series.

Below is a detailed look at TV Land’s summer programming:

ORIGINAL PROGRAMMING

“The Soul Man”

SERIES PREMIERE: Wednesday, June 20 at 10 P.M. ET/PT
“The Soul Man” stars Cedric “The Entertainer” and Niecy Nash and revolves around R&B superstar-turned-minister Reverend Boyce “The Voice” Ballentine (played by Cedric). Though he’s used to living in Las Vegas at the top of the music charts, he gets “the calling” and decides to relocate to St. Louis with his wife, Lolli (Nash) and his daughter, Lyric (Jazz Raycole), to take over the preaching duties in his father’s church. However, his family is not exactly eager to give up the fabulous superstar life for their new humble one. The comedy also stars John Beasley (“Everwood”) as Boyce’s father, Barton, and Wesley Jonathan (“What I Like About You”) as his brother, Stamps.

“The Exes”

SEASON 2 PREMIERE: Wednesday, June 20 at 10:30 P.M. ET/PT
In season one of “The Exes,” Phil (Faison, “Scrubs”) and Haskell (Knight, “Seinfeld”) were shocked to learn that their landlord and divorce attorney, Holly (Johnston, “3rd Rock From The Sun”), was forcing a new roommate on them – the clingy and recently-divorced Stuart (Basche, “The Starter Wife”). In season two, they’re still attempting to adjust to one another’s quirks and annoying habits, but Holly is there to help avert any disasters – or in some cases, cause them. Meanwhile, Holly’s assistant, Eden (Stables, “Two and a Half Men”), doesn’t exactly let professionalism get in the way of prying into her boss’s dating life – or lack thereof.

“Retired At 35”

SEASON 2 PREMIERE: Tuesday, June 26 at 10 P.M. ET/PT
The new season brings a new cast member as Marissa Jaret Winokur (Broadway’s “Hairpsray”) joins the show! In “Retired At 35,” after 37 years of marriage, Alan Robbins (Segal, “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”) and his wife Elaine (Walter, “Arrested Development”) are expected to cruise into retirement and live out their days happily ever after. However, they get an unexpected surprise when their uptight and overworked son David (McClain, “24”), sick of the NYC rat race, decides to move in with them in their active-adult community. David finds himself dealing with his overzealous parents as well as his sister Amy (Winokur), who, while successful in business, has made less than impressive choices in her love life.

SPECIALS

“TV Land Presents: The AFI Life Achievement Award Honoring Shirley MacLaine”

AIRS: Sunday, June 24 at 9 P.M. ET/PT
The annual “TV Land Presents: AFI Life Achievement Award,” will be presented to Academy Award-winner Shirley MacLaine by fellow Academy Award-winner Meryl Streep, her co-star in “Postcards From The Edge.” The event will celebrate MacLaine’s extraordinary life and all her endeavors, from movies and television to Broadway, writing books and beyond. The ceremony tapes Thursday, June 7 in Los Angeles. To apply for press credentials to the red carpet, please visit the TV Land / AFI Life Achievement Awards Credentials Site.

ACQUISITIONS

“That ‘70s Show”

PREMIERES: Friday, June 1 at 9pm ET/PT
Hit sitcom “That ‘70s Show” will join the TV Land line-up with a weekend-long marathon on June 1, 2 and 3 from 9 P.M.  ET/PT to 12 A.M. ET/PT. The series, which starred Topher Grace (“Valentine’s Day”), Ashton Kutcher (“Two and a Half Men”), Mila Kunis (“Black Swan”), Laura Prepon (“Are You There, Chelsea?”), Wilmer Valderrama (“Awake”), Danny Masterson (“Men at Work”), Kurtwood Smith (“24”) and Debra Jo Rupp (“Better With You”), revolves around a group of teenagers as they come of age in 1970s Wisconsin.

Monthly Mags: Guns, Gadgets And Fashionable Women Top Ad Page Gainers

Published 1 year, 10 months ago

Call it the James Bond effect: The top monthly magazine ad page gainers for June 2012 feature guns, beauty and gadgets, according to min.online.

The top ad-page gainer is Guns & Ammo, with 47.84 more ad pages in June 2012 over June 2011, for an 89.42% year-over-year (YoY) gain. Published by Intermedia Outdoors, publisher Chris Agnes attributes the interest in part to the popular show “Sons of Guns” on the Discovery Channel: Also to 2012 being an election year which “For whatever reason,” renews interest in the Second Amendment right to bear arms, reports Agnes.

Allure from Condé Nast took the #2 spot, and Elle from Hearst was #4. “June 2012 was the biggest issue ever for Allure,” publisher Agnes Chapski told min, with a 41.15% YoY ad-page gain. The June Readers’ Choice Awards are a particular draw, with nearly 90% of Allure readers reporting they trust the awards to help them make purchasing decisions. Elle, another fashion and beauty title, has gained a boost from its acquisition and rework by Hearst in May 2011. Elle has a particularly strong online presence, with 27 individual sites worldwide, which publisher and chief revenue officer Kevin O'Malley makes it a powerful “omni-channel brand.”

Taking the #3 spot (and joining the top five list for the first time) is IEEE Spectrum, an engineering trade journal. The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers or IEEE has 400,000+ members in 150 countries for a powerful built-in subscribership (Spectrum is included in membership). The June issue includes a 32-page sponsored insert by Comsol, a simulation software provider, and June is the magazine’s traditional yearbook of in-depth technology provider coverage.

Rounding out the top five ad-page gainers: Ebony, with its June Music/Father’s Day special. Ebony targets a black demographic, and gained 55.02% YoY in 2012, attracting such advertisers as BMW (6 series), Verizon, Philadelphia Tourism, Unilever and State Farm Insurance. The June issue features current music stars from hip-hop and R&B, but also black celebrity fathers.

Upfront TV: MTV Delivers Batman | “Mad Men” Teeters | CNN’s Royal Coverage | Gumbel’s Back

Published 1 year, 10 months ago
  • Batman news: MTV has announced that the "2012 MTV Movie Awards" will feature exclusive footage from Warner Bros. Pictures' and Legendary Pictures' “The Dark Night Rises,” with director, writer, producer Christopher Nolan and actors Christian Bale, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Gary Oldman on hand to celebrate the "Dark Knight" trilogy. Hosted by comedian, actor and TV personality Russell Brand, the "2012 MTV Movie Awards" will air live on Sunday, June 3, at 9:00 P.M. ET/PT from the Gibson Amphitheatre in Universal City, California.

  • Critical darling “Mad Men” is suffering in the ratings, reports Business Insider. Sunday’s episode drew just under two million viewers, about one-third fewer than the show did on March 25, and a 45% drop-off from the 3.54 million viewers AMC claimed for the show’s two-hour premiere in March.) AMC moved its ad-themed reality show “The Pitch” from Monday to follow “Mad Men” on Sunday at 11 P.M., which has doubled the ratings for “The Pitch” to a still 0.1 or less.

  • Struggling CNN has announced aggressive multi-platform coverage of “the spectacular pageantry of the Diamond Jubilee,” which marks Queen Elizabeth’s 60 year reign over the UK and Commonwealth. CNN’s special live coverage will be anchored by Piers Morgan and Brooke Baldwin, across CNN/U.S. and CNN International. Users will be able to watch the simulcast live online at CNN.com/live or on the CNN App for iPad and iPhone by authenticating through their cable, satellite or telco providers. CNN’s live simulcast coverage begins on Sunday, June 3, from 11 A.M. at 1 p.m. ET on location at the Tower Bridge for the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant. On Tuesday, June 5, from 9 to 11 A.M. ET, CNN will broadcast the Royal Carriage Procession, in which the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry of Wales will depart the Palace of Westminster for Buckingham Palace, travelling along a processional route by horse-drawn carriage. The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh and members of the Royal Family will appear on Buckingham Palace’s balcony, at which point the Royal Air Force will fly over the palace and the Queen’s Royal Guard will deliver a celebratory cascade of rifle fire as a salute.
  • Also from CNN, it has recruited world-renowned chef, bestselling author and Emmy winning television personality Anthony Bourdain to host of a new weekend program showcasing the network’s coverage of food and travel. The announcement was made by CNN Worldwide Executive Vice President and Managing Editor, Mark Whitaker.“For more than a decade, Anthony Bourdain has been a trailblazer in educating Americans about different cuisines and cultures around the world, as well as an outspoken commentator on social trends ranging from the rise of celebrity chefs to the impact of fast food chains to the spread of vegetarianism and veganism.” said Whitaker. “Examining the world through the prism of Tony’s unique expertise and passions continues CNN’s long-standing commitment to international reporting and to promoting global understanding.” The show will launch in early 2013, and will be shot on location and examine cultures from around the world through their food and dining and travel rituals. It is slated to air domestically on Sundays in prime time with repeat airings on Saturday nights.

  • Bryant Gumbel will return to morning broadcasts on NBC, reports MediaBistro. The former NBC “Today” and CBS “Early Show” anchor will serve as guest co-host of ABC’s syndicated “Live! with Kelly” on Monday, June 4 and Tuesday, June 5. Gumbel, who anchors “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” on HBO, was one of “Today”‘s longest-serving anchors, and helped launch a revamped version of “The Early Show” back in 1999. Gumbel famously criticized “Today” weatherman Willard Scott (“This guy is killing us”) and film critic Gene Shalit (“Often late and his interviews aren’t very good”) in an internal memo in 1989 that was leaked to the press. Although Gumbel drew fire from the viewing public, the general take from industry insiders was that “someone had to say it.” The other guest co-hosts on next week’s “Live!” are actor Neil Patrick Harris and “Saturday Night Live’”s Andy Samberg.

Another Indie Rock Station Goes Down: Boston’s WFNX Sold to Clear Channel

Published 1 year, 11 months ago

Just short of its 30th birthday, Boston’s independent rock station WFNX (described as "iconic," "legendary" and "progressive" across the press) has been sold to radio giant/clearinghouse Clear Channel Communications. As the New York Times describes it, The deal for WFNX, which broadcasts at 101.7 FM, is pending approval from the Federal Communications Commission. 

It is unlikely that new management will keep the old format, as 17 of 21 employees were immediately let go, as RadioInk reports. Three full-timers and one part-timer will keep WFNX on air until the sale completes. As WFNX Program Director Paul Driscoll told New England Cable News, "I think of it as a two month Irish wake, so we're going to send this legendary station off the right way."

Stephen M. Mindich, the chairman and chief executive of the station’s owner, the Phoenix Media/Communications Group, announced the sale Wednesday morning in a memo to employees, which was posted by the Boston Phoenix newspaper (another Phoenix Media property).

“We introduced Nirvana and Pearl Jam to wider audiences in 1991,” claimed Mindich. “Together with the Boston Phoenix we staged the notorious Green Day concert at the Hatch Shell in 1994…for years we broadcast One In Ten, the only program on a commercial radio station in the nation dedicated to the issues and lifestyles of the GLBT community…Here comes the catch....Despite its celebrated history, its cutting edge programming , its tradition of breaking new music, its ardent fans among listeners and advertisers, for some time it has been difficult to sustain the station -- especially since the start of the Great Recession.”

In other words: “Thanks for the memories and you’re fired,” as RadioINK described the notice.

Clear Channel owns 840 stations across the United States, including four in the Boston area: The Top 40 WXKS-FM; WJMN-FM, which plays hip-hop; and two AM stations, the talk WXKS and the “Spanish hits” WKOX.

As the Times observes, rock stations have been on the decline for much of the last decade, leaving independent stations particularly vulnerable. Last year, Emmis Communications sold WRXP in New York to Merlin Media to a former top Clear Channel executive who converted it to a talk format.