Friday, May 12, 2006

This is why we like Fridays

End of the work week, yes. Two days ahead of gratuitous free time, yes. Relaxation mode, yes!

Doctor Who on the Sci-Fi Channel, yes, yes, YES, YES, YESSSS!

(Admit it. You suspected all along that I was a nerd, just keeping my geekiness clevery hidden. Athough I can't be the full-blown nerd, since I was mostly unfamiliar with "The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy" up until this year, when Geogal added the feature flick to our queue. )

I'm sitting in front of a computer screen. Geoana is asleep on the couch in the family room (preschool took a lot out of her today). The house is quiet. Air conditioner humming.

This, dear readers, is true tranquility. I need to figure out how to etch it into my memory in order to recall it when needed, as in times of high stress.

The best part? It doesn't cost a dime.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

What a difference a litte time makes

I remember the period ranging from December 2003 to the summer of 2004. Dark times for professional sports in Arizona. First, Dave McGinnis (Cardinals head coach) was fired, then the ax came for the Suns coach. In the midst of that dismal 2004 season, Bob Brenley, skipper of the Diamondbacks, was given his walking papers.

All of the franchises were stinking up the place.

Not the best time to be a professional sports fan in Arizona.

Now we're in May of 2006. Not all that long, if you look at the grand scheme of things. The Suns are in the second round of the playoffs, having dispatched the hated Kobe Lakers. Mind you, the Suns are missing their star player (Amare Stoudemire) but do have the leagues' MVP on the court. The Diamondbacks, while not likely to go to the postseason, are holding their own. (With Brandon Webb shining every time he takes the mound.) And the Cardinals, the NFL's perpetual whipping boy, are showing significant signs of life. And are drawing a lot of interest from the public, to the point that season tickets are sold out.

Maybe now is the best time to be a professional sports fan in Arizona.

Before the ax falls. Let's be realistic. The Suns won't go to the NBA finals, much less win it all. The Diamondbacks, as mentioned above, will be going home come October. And the Cardinals may finish above .500, but that might be it.

Then again, considering the Cardinals, most folks here would be happy with a winning season. :)

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Some more thoughts on local broadcasting

So, finally I am able to think, be slightly creative, then sit down at the keyboard.

Even though I referred to it in a recent post, a picture is still worth a thousand bits and bytes.

While I work to clear the cobwebs off this site, I want to reflect on an article I read in this morning's paper.

My opinion: Not smart.

I think I know why the guys in secret underwear (a term used for the decision-makers at Bonneville that was coined by a contributor for are dumping a profitable format for a simulcast. To create an increase in ratings for the beleagured KTAR.

For those of you unfamiliar with Phoenix radio history, KTAR was, for many years, the undisputed news/information leader in The Valley, and for a good chunk of Arizona to boot. They had a large news-gathering organization and a very good radio signal that was heard by most of the state with little interference.

However, times changed, and KTAR was slow to adapt to the changes. Even to this day they still run Paul Harvey and just re-hired Pat McMahon. McMahon is an institution in The Valley, but his time is just about past. While other stations were running political-oriented talk shows, KTAR was content to run talk shows that in 2006 could be considered pure fluff. (Another joke that makes an occasional appearance on the Radio-Info Phoenix board is KTAR devoting an hour to the question: "Is it raining in your neighborhood? If so, give us a call.")

Since about 2000, KFYI, the closest news/talk/information competitor to KTAR, has steadily risen in the ratings, thanks to a frequency change and savvy hiring/programming decisions. I cannot recall exactly when they eclipsed KTAR in the ratings but it had to have been around 2 -3 years ago. Ever since, KTAR's ratings have been steadily declining.

This ratings slide has nothing to do with signal strength, or even the fact that KTAR broadcasts on the AM frequency. It's about content. Times have changed, listener tastes have changed, and simulcasting on the FM dial will not change that.

Not to mention dumping the hip-hop format that is profitable for KKFR. Granted, I don't like rap, hip-hop, or whatever else you want to call it. But if I were a station owner or an executive in a broadcasting group, I would want to devote at least one FM station to this format, as it is extremely popular with young listeners, who have plenty of money to spend....