Category Archives: Drew’s Ramblings

2017 Memorial Day Sales, Home Depot Ads, Etc.

Memorial Day sales! They’re everywhere! The Memorial Day ads are already blaring from your radio speakers. Who will spend the most money and run the most commercials? The Home Depot seems a likely candidate. Home Depot was radio’s top advertiser during the week including Memorial Day 2016. If you thought you were hearing a lot of Home Depot Memorial Day Sale ads while at the cabin or the beach last year, it wasn’t your imagination. According to Media Monitors, and InsideRadio, The Home Depot ran 71,630 spots between May 30 and June 5!

Lowe’s is another strong radio advertiser of Memorial Day sales. They were in 5th place last year. Apparently, people like to get out and do their home improvements during the final weekend in May. Since Memorial Day weekend is also great time for people to work on their cars, O’Reilly Auto Parts and AutoZone also rank high on this list. One big Memorial Day advertiser of past years that you likely won’t hear much from in 2017 is hhgregg. That company is going out of business, closing all 220 stores. If you do hear any hhgregg ads, it will be for their liquidation sale, now in progress.

As we approach the holiday, what are YOU hearing for Memorial Day Sale ads? One thing for certain: with all these spots running on local stations, it’s a good sign that terrestrial radio is far from dead!

iPhone 7, Headphone Jack 0

Unless you’ve been under a rock for the past few days, you no doubt are aware that Apple has released the long-awaited iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. Like most people, I immediately noticed what the new iPhone doesn’t have: a headphone jack. This is a problem. Especially if you’re an audio junkie like me. Wherever I go, I am constantly streaming radio stations or other sources of music and news. I need a headphone jack.

In fairness, Apple does include a lightning to 3.5mm headphone adaptor at no extra charge. But the added weight is cumbersome. Another problem is that you cannot charge the iPhone 7 while using the adaptor. The preferred option is to use Apple’s new wireless AirPods in place of headphones. That is, if you don’t mind spending an additonal $159. I do.

Me? I’ll keep my tried and true Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime. If the headphones go out, I can buy a new pair anywhere for around $10. If the charger goes out, that’s universally available for less than $10. And since it’s “old school”, it has a removable battery and microSD card slot. Two important features that neither the iPhones nor the newer Galaxy models have. Yeah, I’m cheap. But I’ll stick with what works for me.

Learn from Greta: Make Copies of Your Stuff!

Last week, Greta Van Susteren suddenly departed FOX News after more than 14 years. I didn’t see that one coming. Speculation is all over the board as to why she chose to take advantage of an exit clause in her contract. This morning, Greta posted on her Facebook page that she hopes FOX will give back all the personal photos and video from her GretaWire blog. Apparently, she does not have copies of these items.

If there’s one thing I learned in 16 years of broadcasting, it’s this: always, always, ALWAYS protect what is yours! Make backups of anything and everything you use on-the-air. Regardless of how long you’ve worked at a station or how good you are, the day WILL come when you are unexpectedly escorted out of the building. If you’re lucky, you’ll be given a box and a few minutes to grab what you can on your way out the door. After your departure, the first thing the company will do is delete all reference to you from the station website, Facebook page, etc. All of your passwords will be changed and you will no longer have access to anything. It is as if you never existed at that organization. Good luck in getting your materials back once this happens.

I believe Greta is one of the few honest journalists in the business today. I wish her well and hope she surfaces at another network after being “benched for awhile” as she put it. As for the rest of us, let’s make this a learning experience. Always back up and protect your stuff!

Why Do People Confuse Labor Day & Memorial Day?

Labor Day and Memorial Day do have some things in common. They’re both summer holidays. They are both observed on Monday. Most people get both Labor Day and Memorial Day off from work. If you worked in radio back in the day, this was definitely NOT the case! But that’s fodder for another of Drew’s Ramblings on a different day.

Labor Day and Memorial Day are actually opposite holidays. Memorial Day marks the unofficial beginning of summer while Labor Day signifies the end. More importantly, these holidays are designed for completely different purposes. Labor Day was created to honor working people. Memorial Day is a day to pay tribute to those who died while in the military and serving our country.

I am amazed at the number of people who confuse these two holidays. Every Labor Day, people will ask “What are you doing on Memorial Day?” Or, the ever popular “Do you have to work on Memorial Day?” On Memorial Day, of course, they inquire as to Labor Day activities. I guess for many people, both of these holidays are simply a day to be spent grilling burgers and drinking beer. Kinda sad when you think about it.

For the record, Labor Day is observed on the first Monday in September. Memorial Day is observed on the last Monday in May. When Memorial Day rolls around next year, take notice of how many people make reference to “Labor Day.” It ain’t pretty, friends.

The GM Who Forgot His Own Station’s Frequency

I was talking to a long time radio buddy yesterday. As it often does, the conversation turned to owners, program directors, and general managers whom we had worked for back in the day. There was a small station in our area who had a notorious GM. This guy really loved the bottle. His drinking escapades were well known throughout the local community as well as in radio circles statewide. His frequent tirades and outbursts were legendary. I won’t mention any names so as to protect the guilty.

In the late 1980s, cell phones had just become the latest status symbol. The GM had one installed in his car. Which meant he would now call the station every half hour to “check in” and make sure everything was okay in his absence. One day, he heard a song that he didn’t care for at all. He immediately hotlined the jock and demanded to know why he was playing “this (expletive deleted) hard rock!” His station’s format was a blend of country and 1950s/60s oldies. The song which had drawn the ire of the GM was a classic rocker. Jock insisted he was not now, nor had he ever played the song in question. GM continued: “You’re a liar! You’re fired! Get your (expletive deleted) and get your (expletive deleted) outta here. I’ll be there in 10 minutes!”

Upon arriving at the station, the GM was greeted in the parking lot by the PD. His car was still running. PD asked what the problem was. While the GM was ranting and raving, the PD glanced at his car radio. He then said “Uh, (GM’s name), you’re listening to ninety five point NINE. We’re on ninety five point FIVE!” 95.9 was the frequency of the classic rock station located about 30 miles southeast.

GM enters the building. Walks into air studio and mumbles something about “you can stay” to the jock. GM then disappears in his office and closes the door without saying another word.