I wanted to see the New Morning X succeed. Even when I stopped listening, I wanted it to succeed, because I like the people on the show. I still hope it succeeds. But this doesn't bode well:
Rock stations (including the River, 99X, Project and Dave) had a tough
book. Their ratings were flat or falling. And notably, the “new”
Morning X, which debuted last October, is not clicking in the ratings.
It has fallen sharply since the fall, from a tie for 7th among 18 to 34
year olds to a tie for 11th in the winter to just 16th place this
spring. -- Rodney Ho, Radio Talk
This poor showing is against little morning show competition. My guess that things will only get tougher when The Giant Brian Show comes to town.
With Cumulus going private, the Dickeys will have the freedom to focus on the long term. It's possible that that they may be willing stick things out another book or two. Let's hope they do.
Add to this, two of the lamest tertiary characters in my memory: the probably fake "blah blah blogger" Dan Starkweather and the probably (unfortunately) real White Chocolate you end up with a lot of voices. Hopefully the addition of Tim will give these myriad voices something interesting to say.
99X grew its share of men, 18-34, by more than sixty percent to become the #1 non-ethnic station in that demographic (it was ranked #5 among all stations in the market). Leading the ratings increase was the New Morning X which grew its share of men, 18-34 by 340% to become the #2 non-ethnic (#7 overall) morning show in the demographic. The station and The New Morning X also performed well in persons 18-34, increasing their ratings share by 50% and 230% respectively.
Meanwhile, AJC Radio and Television writer Rodney Ho blogs
"99X rebounded from its worst-ever book over the summer but was still
20th overall, nothing to write home about," referring to the Station's 12+ ratings. Technically, in 12+ ratings, 99X is tied for 20th place with the beleaguered talk station WGST. So why are the folks at 99X pleased with their ratings while WGST is well...beleaguered? The answer comes down to ad revenue. Advertisers don't usually buy based on 12+ ratings, nor are all demographics equally profitable. One of the most lucrative radio demographics is...drum roll...18-34 year old, non-ethnic males.
Interestingly, the #1 non-ethnic morning show in the Fall Book among
18-34 men was the now defunct The Regular Guys. While I think it's
unrealistic that the New Morning X will appeal to the majority The
Regular Guys listeners, it's certainly reasonable to expect that a good
number might land on 99.7 in future books.
I track visits to 99XWatch.org using Google Analytics. People come to my site for a variety of reasons. Certainly, the biggest reason for this is that they are hungry for more information on a given subject. For example, I received a huge spike in traffic on the first day of the New Morning X. I also recieve big spikes in traffic when someone gets fired or sued.
On Wednesday, 11/29/2006, I had 611 visitors and 1,071 page views. On Wednesday, 12/06/2006, I had 1,589 visitors and 3,314 page views. Now, on that day, I got a referring link from Larry Wachs. (Rest assured, Wachs linking to me is not a frequent occurrence.) 99XWatch.org got 627 click throughs from RegularGuys.com. Even if you subtract those 627 click-throughs, you're looking at a 55% increase in visitors Wednesday to Wednesday.
Several radio insiders believe "The Email" controversy was staged. That being said, for a long time, a number of radio insiders thought that this site was a stunt by 99X. (Where's my check, damn it!) The ideal morning show is one where the environment is conducive to interesting things happening spontaneously, one where the hosts have a good enough ear to to know when to go in a certain, unplanned direction. That being said, I suspect most would be surprised at the degree to which spontaneity on any show simply an illusion.
If the "The Email" controversy wasn't staged, it should have been.
I got the chance to go to the Mistle Toe Jam and hang with Rodney Ho, who was kind enough to give me a shout out on his blog (as well as a better summary that I could have written):
I went to the 99X Mistle Toe Jam with Jim Voris of www.99xwatch.org
fame. I decided not to really work per se but just hang out which I
seldom get to do at concerts. (I didn’t really know the bands on the
bill well enough to review them.) So we caught part of AFI and most of
Jet, both good arena acts. But obviously, without the Killers (Brandon
Flowers has a severe flu), it wasn’t a totally killer concert. Still,
about 8,000 to 9,000 people appeared to show up, just based on how
filled the arena looked. It was general admission on the floor and the
floor was about 2/3 packed. The entire lower level was sold and
virtually all of the second level. Very few third-level seats were
filled. It was overall a decent sized crowd. The vibe was relaxed. A
couple of women doffed their shirts but this was purely PG— they kept
their bras on.II
I got to meet a number of 99X folks. It's interesting to see different insiders' reactions when I introduce myself as the 99XWatch.org guy. I've been pretty positive about 99X lately, so it's easier for me to show my face at a 99X event than it would have been, in say October.
Several of my emailers as well as some folks on RadioInfo.com, have suggested that Tuesday's Email controversy was staged. Rodney and I questioned NMX Producer Mark Owens who stuck to his story that the bit wasn't planned. While the controversy seemed authentic to me, I have enough respect for the opinions of many of the insiders who are incredulous about it that I'm now a little skeptical as well. That being said, a rule of thumb is that elaborately staged controversies don't tend to unfold at 9:15am.
Update 12/9/2006, 9:31 am
Changed "8:15am to 9:15am," above. My point was that listeners peak for a morning show between 7:30 and 8:00. One usually hears big planned bits around that time.
After being diagnosed with a severe flu, The Killers frontman Brandon Flowers has been ordered by his doctor to stay off stage for the 99X Mistle Toe Jam Wednesday, December 6th. This comes on the heels of The Killers missing the nationally televised Billboard Awards and their last European tour date in Ireland.
The 99X Mistle Toe Jam CONTINUES with AFI, Jet, and OK GO.
People who purchased tickets should hold on to the stub as 99X is working on a formal statement regarding the “make good” of the Killers’ show as soon as the details are confirmed.
This transcript is based on Mark Owens' edited version of the email conversation between Rob Jenners and Adam Davis that caused tensions this morning. According to Jenners: Davis is "a friend of mine that's ... that I have down in Miami that I've worked with for years that's kind of listening to the show and giving me like pointers and tips and you know feedback and stuff to push this show in the right direction."
From Adam to Jenners:
Hey man, just checking in. I have been listening to the show online like you asked. It's not bad. Seems a little lost at times. You need to keep Sean focused. How are you feeling about things? How was that bowling thing you did? Did you have a good Thanksgiving? Drop a line ...I'll keep an ear on the show in the meantime.
From Jenners to Adam:
Hey man, thanks for the feedback. The show is going OK. I think Sean needs to pull it together if we're going to make things work. I'm about ready to see if Larry from the Regular guys is available. It's been tough. I'm just hoping that I can get back to having fun and creating cool bits instead of crap like peanut butter jelly time.
From Adam to Jenners:
Ha ha ha ha. PB&J Time Sucks. What's up with Sean's unrelenting cheesiness? Leslie and Mark seem cool, though. They should be fun to work with.
From Jenners to Adam:
Leslie's cool. Mark is a little red for my taste and he's kind of a ... [Mark's paraphrase] male anatomy ... but he's not bad. I'd appreciate it if he could sober up long enough to put together a decent sports report. Sean is fun, but I'm about ready to stuff that megaphone down his damn throat.
From Adam to Jenners:
Yeah, the megaphone is driving me nuts too. And what's the deal with who gives a rat's ass? That's completely random.
From Jenners to Adam:
The entire show is completely random. I long for the days when things had structure, like Paul and Ron. It's OK. We'll probably get destroyed in the ratings and I'll be back in Florida before I know whats happening.
And finally, here is Rob's explanation, after the email had been read:
To my defense ... there were some moments of awkwardness during one of the shows last week, when ever the hell that was written, and ... I was perturbed with the people I worked with...Sometimes you say things when you're pissed off that you don't really mean, and I think that was one of those cases...I don't have issues with Sean, I don't, I don't. I just get upset sometimes...You're supposed to be able to sound of to your friends without your other "friends"...going through your email.
Today I became a fan of Mark Owens. Mark Owens read an email from Rob Jenners to a friend of his from Miami. In it Jenners made some candid observations about the show. Some fair. Some not. All authentic. Yes, it was an "invasion of privacy" and "complete bull". It was also the single best moment of radio on Atlanta airwaves in a long time.
I'm certain that there were people all over the metro Atlanta area who are talking around their water coolers about what they just heard. I'm certain they'll tune in tomorrow...and they'll bring friends.