Friday, August 24, 2007


Have you heard the latest? Commercials that is. They’re getting shorter and more frequent. I think this is an idea whose time has come. Especially to Radio, a medium in search of more revenue and less clutter. These new "quickie" ads are referred to as "adlets" or "blinklets". I like ‘em. For years I have been saying to the few who would listen, that shorter commercials would "free" up more time for more program material and content on the air. After all, programming has sacrificed much over the years with shorter promos, condensed liners,
shorter newscasts(even NO newscasts), fewer DJs and air talent, no jingles, and smaller budgets. Now it’s the Sales Department’s turn. This should have happened long ago when individual music selections got longer. It’s the old management quandary. How to meet the annual budget and make a profit, while satisfying the listener’s desires for fewer commercial interruptions.
"Adlets" are 10 second spots, while "Blinklets" are 2 seconds...mere mentions. These mini-messages are now being embraced on Madison Avenue, so there’s hope for a change in the way commercials are bought and sold. Many stations are charging 20 percent of their station’s one minute rate card rate for the "adlet", and the "blinklet" goes for 10 percent of same rate card’s one minute rate. Station’s using the new shortened ads are limiting these to no more than a mixture of 3 per hour to further cut down on clutter. This is debatable with me however. Whatever, or however a station chooses to produce revenue and spread it’s commercial load through-out the sound hours is a matter of individual need and/or programming taste. But I applaud those for trying a new approach to ads and their placement. I believe there can be even more dividing of the length for ads and commercials. Why does it have to be 30 and 60 all the time?. This was ingrained into Radio sales consciousness many years ago, an idea stemming from the old "network" days. As long as the division of commercial time adds up to 60 seconds( for timing on network situations), why can’t commercials be 15 seconds, 20 seconds, 40 or 45 seconds...even 50 seconds? How often have you wished you had 10 more seconds when producing a 30 second commercial? Or sometimes you don’t need a full 30 or 60 seconds to get the advertiser’s message across. Instead of resorting to "fill" music or sound effects, the sponsor would have a choice of a 20 or 40 second spot. Much is changing in Radio these days...technically, musically, and formatically. Now change is needed commercially! I always liked the old Top 40 promo line: "You’re listening to the sweet sound of success" (station jingle). People(i.e. listeners) love to be associated with success despite what they tell survey and ratings takers.. A winning station is usually a successful top billing station.
Now, there’s a better choice of ways to achieve that success. Multi-length commercial time. That’s my RadiOpinion, what’s yours? -Gary Allyn

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


**A Re-Post of Blog a few years back!

AWW-GUST! Not my favorite month. Whoever coined the phrase: "The Dog Days of August" surely knew that it was not a month for us humans. As the un-relenting rays of the sun melt the landscape in the Midwest and other parts of the U.S., not even dogs want to venture outside. What to do with these thirty-one days of Summer doldrums? Listen to the Radio? You must be kidding. There’s nothing on the air that would excite the senses. What happened to Dick Biondi, Tom Clay, Lee Baby Simms, Cousin Brucie, The Real Don Steel, Dr. Don Rose, The Weird Beard, Wolfman Jack, Wally Philips, Loman & Barkley, Jack The Bellboy, Doc Downey, Alan Freed, Happy Hare, Dusty Rhodes? What happened to the Summer songs? Where has the exciting contests such as: "Cash Call", "The Last Contest", "The Big Kahuna Beach Patrol", winning a Backyard Cookout, gone? Was it a dream, or did I imagine that Summer used to mean "fun" on the radio? Listening to radio programming today makes it seem that "fun" was so very long ago. AWW-GUST! What a "fun" month to get exciting programming started. There is still a chance to turn AWW-GUST into AWE-GUST! An awe inspiring, ho-daddy, meet ya at the Stones concert, type of month! I mean, there’s absolutely little competition. Baseball is struggling through it’s remaining forty-five days of it’s regular season. Football is starting it’s boring pre-season. Presidential candidates are blathering and pandering for votes a year ahead of time. Television is still in re-runs, and hoping that there will be a "Last Comic Standing". Sorry. No "American Idol" until January. "Survivor" is weeks away-unless you count those of us who manage to make it through this AWW-FUL month! AWW-GUST! A month so-oo AWW-FUL that there’s no Holiday for some time off.(You can bet government employees hate this month). Even songwriters have disdained this hot bothersome month. There was "April In Paris", June is Busting Out All Over", "September Song", but no song about August! Well, Neil Diamond’s album: "Hot August Nights" may be the closest salute we have. Half a month to go before I breathe a sigh of relief. Now, people are heading home from vacations, and some school has already begun in some areas. Astute programmers should already be in "Summer" mode. But, I just don’t hear it, do you? You sure aren’t going to hear any "fun" on the Internet stations either. AWW-GUST! It should be a time for "Pool Parties" and "The Endless Summer". Instead, it’s become a time for a "fool" for an FCC, and music that’s an "Endless Bummer". That’s my RadiOpinion, what’s yours? (By the way, can anyone name a song title with August in it? See, I rest my case).- Gary Allyn