RAIN 8/20: Mark and Brian both announce post-retirement podcasts

Paul Maloney
August 20, 2012 - 1:10pm

It turns out KLOS-FM/Los Angeles morning hosts Mark & Brian (Mark Thompson, left and Brian Phelps, right) have both left the airwaves, and both are launching podcasts.

Thompson had long planned to retire Friday after nearly 25 years (it was the longest-running active morning show in L.A.), but in a surprise development, Phelps also announced his plan to immediately leave the airwaves -- and launch a podcast with actress and comedian Jill Whelan (known from roles in "Airplane!" and "The Love Boat"). The two plan to launch "The Brian and Jill Show" September 10.

Thompson is starting his own podcast, "The Mark and Lynda Podcast," co-starring his wife and their three grown children.

We've reported in RAIN (and often brought to RAIN Summits) various former on-air legends who've retooled their craft for a streaming and/or podcast presentation, like Adam Carolla, Steve Dahl, Bubba the Love Sponge, Heidi and Frank, and Tom Leykis.

Read more on Mark & Brian in the Los Angeles Times here.  And speaking of Heidi and Frank...

Paul Maloney
August 20, 2012 - 1:10pm

News is just breaking at press time the KLOS/Los Angeles will replace the long-running Mark & Brian show with L.A. veterans Heidi & Frank, beginning September 4th.

Heidi Hamilton and Frank Kramer have worked in the market on Clear Channel KYSR and CBS Radio KLSX. After losing their show at Cumulus KABC in September 2010, the two launched “The Heidi and Frank Show” online the following month, reported Paid Content by January 2011. By that time they built a subscriber base of “well over 6,000” customers paying $5/month or $50/year for on-demand audio and video content, plus a 2-hour live show weekday mornings (see our coverage here), mostly through tenacious productivity and social media efforts.

In April of last year the two spoke of their experience at RAIN Summit West (more here).

Here's more on the arrival of Heidi & Frank on KLOS from AllAccess

Paul Maloney
August 20, 2012 - 1:10pm

To tie in to our RAIN Summit Europe event coming up October 5th in Berlin, we'd like to point out this very handy guide to radio listening in the UK prepared by Media UK Managing Director and "radio futurologist" James Cridland.

Radio listeners in the United Kingdom have local AM and FM stations just as in the United States. But even their Internet radio options can be different (as services like Pandora don't have the necessary licenses to stream there, and sources like the BBC often wall off their content to U.S. listeners).

Instead of satellite services dedicated to radio (like SiriusXM), radio delivered via television platforms seems to be the UK solution. There are the Sky and Freesat channels on digital satellite TV, Freeview radio channels on digital terrestrial TV, and digital radio delivered via cable television (such as on Virgin Media). Of course, U.S. cable- and satellite-television customers in the often get radio sources like Music Choice and SiriusXM along with their video channels.

You likely know that broadcast digital radio -- HD Radio here in the U.S. -- is on a different platform there. There's DAB Digital Radio (which actually began in 1990), but also a newer technology that's available in Europe outside the UK: DAB+ (which uses improved audio compression and error correction technology).

Cridland runs down each of these platforms in detail, and includes links to lists of stations on each. Read more here. We hope you'll be able to join us for RAIN Summit Europe on October 5th in Berlin. All you need to know is here.

Paul Maloney
August 20, 2012 - 1:10pm

Broadcast group Saga Communications has decided to no longer substitute "online only" content for the on-air ads on its stations' Internet streams. Now, everything that goes out over the air can also be heard online.

In June Saga announced it would shut down streams of stations outside the Top 100 markets, and place geographical limits on who can listen to the remaining streams (see RAIN here).

Ten years ago radio advertisers' agreement with AFTRA, the union that represents voice talent on radio commercials, forbid the online use of spots created for on-air radio without significantly costly added fees. This forced broadcasters to substitute other content on the stream when ads ran on-air. Broadcasters use various companies' technologies to "insert" other ads, public service announcements, music beds, or simply silence.

But Saga says those AFTRA stipulations are almost entirely a thing of the past. "It doesn’t make sense for us to change the entire way do business because of a couple of isolated incidents," Saga EVP Warren Lada told Inside Radio. "The voice talent is negotiating a contract with advertiser or agency — it’s up to them to come up with whatever that arrangement is."

"Lada says SAG-AFTRA reps have also told him that as long as a union talent is paid the negotiated rate for a multi-platform ad they now essentially see it as a non-issue — and the union doesn’t track radio spots regardless," reports Inside Radio.

Lada says he first looked into the issue because the substitution of online-only content over the on-air ads sounded terrible (uneven audio levels, timing problems, etc.). He said he's not worried about losing the streaming inventory, because it's really not all that profitable, especially compared to mobile text messaging and e-mail blasts. "It’s time for the industry to man up and recognize that primarily most of our audience is on-air and we should just include the stream with it — it’s just part of what we do," he said.