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Welcome to the all new Airchecker experience. A social networking site for radio. We are powered by the people of radio and those who have a great passion to have conversations about radio. As the voice of the Canadian radio industry since 2009. Airchecker has gained a loyal army of followers who say we are the best source for radio. 1000s of radio lovers power your radio news each week via Airchecker. read more >

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The Stuph File Program – Episode #0440


Welcome to the latest edition of the Stuph File Program.

For a program list of the items included and all their accompanying links in this one hour show, you can find the information on my website in the Stuph File Program section, or just follow this link to #0440.

To download the podcast, right click here and select “Save Link As”

Featured in this episode:

  • Michael Pocock, founder. Book By You
  • Andre Sogliuzzo, voice actor
  • Dennis Hof, owner, Moonlite Bunny Ranch — accepting Bitcoin

Click logo for iTunes podcast subscription If you have any comments or suggestions, or items for the mailbag, feel free to click on the “Comments” link below to add your thoughts.

Get Your Own Pro Video Studio For Less Than $500


It’s clear that video is a powerful tool for communication, engagement, exposing a brand, selling a product and getting attention online. There’s no reason to invest thousands of dollars in expensive cameras and video gear. You can build your own video studio on the cheap!

Most of us are overwhelmed easily at the prospect of starting a video strategy, starting with the equipment and technology needed. But it’s not that intimidating when you really get into it, and you probably have some of the most important gear you need already.

Degree of Difficulty

You’ll be amazed at what you can produce in your video studio that’s built for less than $500. Not only is it  a fully-functional professional video studio, you can put it almost anywhere. You really don’t need much space.

Rick Morton, morning personality on Z90/San Diego explains  how he did it in this short self-produced video, which was created entirely in one corner of his morning show’s office:

Pretty cool, huh? And remarkably easy. Once it’s set up, you can generate a ton of high quality video.

Video Studio Shopping List

Here’s everything you need, with prices: to build your own video studio on the cheap:


An unused office or just a wall in a low traffic area will do fine. If there’s absolutely no space at your station, do it at home. It’s a tax deduction! You will want to find a place that’s as quiet as possible. If it’s just outside the break room, you may have some background noise or have to re-record some of the footage and that can get annoying.

Cost: $0


For greatest flexibility, paint part of your studio area white (a clean white background can look great in some videos). Paint another part chromakey green (for a green screen background that can be replaced with any image you choose). In a third section add a backdrop with your logo. Paint it on or get a large vinyl sticker or  poster from a copy shop. Another nice effect is the backdrop with repeated logos on a plain backdrop. You’ve seen these in many press conferences.

If you’re building the studio to be shared with other stations in your cluster, make sure the logo can be replaced easily and quickly. Or, you may just go with the chromakey background to make it as flexible as your imagination.

Maximum Cost: $50.

Note: If you don’t want to paint a wall, or don’t have a wall to paint, get a green screen background for about $20. You can hang it whenever and wherever you need it.


You can do a lot using the green screen and graphic or video backgrounds in production, but you should also have something that provides depth and identifies with your brand, like an aerial shot of your city. That’s what Rick used in the video above.

Try to find a high resolution photo and have it enlarged at a copy center. If you can’t find one, check with a local traffic service and see if they’ll take a picture from their helicopter the next time they’re out.

Cost: $30.


You could spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars on a professional camera, but you don’t really need to. All you really need is a smartphone, which you probably already have. Many video cameras on phones are higher quality than DSLR video. Cost: $0.

If you want a “real” camera, get a GoPro HERO3. Cost $199.

If you do a lot of action shots, it might help having this, but you don’t need it to start your studio.


This is a big help in getting the perfect angle, and they’re dirt cheap.

Get the  Stargoods Flexible Iphone Tripod Mini Octopus (Set of 3). Cost $16.99 (for 3). Or, upgrade for a better one, like this. GripTight GorillaPod Stand Cost: $29.


This is the most important item of all. Most amateur video is poor just because it’s not well-lit. Natural lighting is always best, but you can’t always count on it, especially if you’re in an internal office with no windows or a studio. So invest in a lighting kit like the 600W Umbrella Continuous Lighting Kit by LimoStudio.

They’re not expensive, and will make a huge difference in how your videos look. There’s a bit of a learning curve to use lighting kits most effectively, but you’ll figure it out pretty quickly. And there’s always Google and YouTube to help you.

Cost: Under $100.


You could spend several hundred dollars for professional software like Final Cut Pro but there’s no point unless you’re planning to become the next Spielberg.

If you have a Mac, you already have iMovie. That’s all you need. If you have a Windows PC, download simple video software that you can find it for free.

Cost: $50 (maximum).


When you create a video, upload it to your account on YouTube (start your own Channel) or Vimeo. You can upload it in HD, and the popularity of these platforms will lead to more potential fans discovering your work.

Cost: $0.


That’s it. You might find you can do this for as little as $200 if have most of the hardware (smartphone, computer).  But it will certainly be less than $500.

Now get to work. I can’t wait to see what you create.



Burli has developed a strong customer base around the world, especially in our home country of Canada.  We are fortunate enough to work with broadcasters of all sizes from coast to coast.

We wanted to take the time to talk to one of our key customers, Bell Media, and find out how they use Burli Newsroom, and why.  We dropped in on Chris Larke and John Bollwitt in Bell Media’s Vancouver studios for their feedback.

Larke and Bollwitt are both part of the engineering team that supports Bell Media’s multiple TV and Radio presences in Vancouver.  They are part of the dynamic group that powers CTV, the TSN sports talk stations, Virgin Radio, and QMFM.  As part of such a busy team, they rely on Burli to get them through their broadcast day.

Relying on key Burli strengths such as sharing data and stories across all of Canada makes it a good choice for an operation of their size and scope, and improved workflows that suit them perfectly just cement the deal.  Let’s look at how Burli gets applied with Bell Media.

Getting Started

Burli was installed at Bell Media in late 2015 to modernize and streamline their approach to sharing resources across their network.  Due to a high local influx of young talent from BCIT, “They’re very familiar with Burli already”, says Larke.  “So when we got Burli in here a year ago, they were very happy… There was a familiarity and they were just ready to go.”  Larke’s own exposure to Burli went back to the days when the software shipped on diskettes, so his comfort level with supporting Burli at Bell Media was also high.

Now having had the system on board for more than a year, they’ve found themselves using it heavily in several key areas of their radio business.  Burli is used most notably for the group’s sports talk broadcasts, but it’s also frequently used on their music stations for quick and reliable call recording and editing. They also use Burli to bring in traditional newswires, including the Canadian Press, and many RSS feeds to bolster their coverage of the major sports leagues.

Iain McLetchie at Bell Media using Burli Newsroom to create great sports programming

The best thing a software company can hear is that its product is stable and easy to use, something Bell Media has made mention of since taking Burli on.

Burli on the Air at Bell Media

The team uses Burli’s multi-track audio editor to add tops and tails, and then send the audio to air, podcasts, and websites quickly and easily.  They use the built-in Audio Logger to create much of their content, going back to pull key highlights out – even as it’s still being recorded –  something Larke says they’re doing more and more of.

The TSN sports guys in particular are using the logger heavily in their show prep.  “They come in before their show, sit down at Burli, because the producer… [of the] Vancouver Canucks games will cut every single goal… from the logger…  Snip, title, put it into the bank”, explains Bollwitt.  These clips are easily found, referenced, and put to use.

These functions are fast and simple, they say, which makes it easy to publish content to the listening audience, however it chooses to do that listening.

Coast to Coast

Where Burli and Bell Media really come together, though, is sharing media across the country.  Bell Media has a presence in every major market in Canada, and needed a way to share content across locations.  Burli fit the bill.

Individual TSN sister stations have exclusive rights to their local NHL teams, but share clips across the network.  This is an important part of how the sports side of the business functions across Canada.  And when set up with WideOrbit (Bell Media’s radio automation system), dispatching audio makes workflow much simpler.  “Your efficiencies increase tenfold”, says Bollwitt.

Bell Media also updates and maintains Burli centrally at a corporate level, which means there is more coordination for updates, Larke explains. When new features are rolled out in Burli, Bell Media can launch them internally to all locations at once, reducing confusion and improving workflows.

Keeping it Going

The system has been very stable since its installation, says Larke.  “It’s been very stable.  We had our own growing pains, but when we figured out it was a hardware issue on our side, everything stabilized…  After that, it was…” Bollwitt starts, but Larke finishes: “Rock solid”.

And on the few occasions when Bell Media has had to call Burli for support, he says, the support has been very fast and very helpful.  “We really haven’t had to, which is the beautiful part of it, but… anytime that we call you guys, [we get help] right away!” says Larke.

Should we get on a call to discuss your business and station goals? Fill out the details in the simple form below and I will be in touch shortly about your request.

Book Your Discovery Call

The Stuph File Program – Episode #0439


Welcome to the latest edition of the Stuph File Program.

For a program list of the items included and all their accompanying links in this one hour show, you can find the information on my website in the Stuph File Program section, or just follow this link to #0439.

To download the podcast, right click here and select “Save Link As”

Featured in this episode:

Click logo for iTunes podcast subscription If you have any comments or suggestions, or items for the mailbag, feel free to click on the “Comments” link below to add your thoughts.



Being a big part of the Canadian broadcast scene for 22 years means a lot of people already know who we are. Burli Software is a Canadian company with a global presence, founded in 1996 by journalists with a desire to make news easier to gather, work with, and present. Championed by our little friend, Burli (that’s the bird!), we work hard to make the lives of journalists easier with powerful newsroom software.

That’s the part a lot of people know. What else should they know? What’s changing with Burli Software?

What Does Burli Do?

Our specialty is the news, and we help our customers to capture, edit, and publish stories, anywhere.

Just finding the stories you want to present can be a challenge – there are thousands of news stories generated every hour around the world, and they’re all available in different formats, from different sources. We make it easy to find and filter the stories you want, and bring them into a common environment.

For reporters both in the newsroom and out and about, Burli makes writing, recording, and filing quick and easy.

Burli also offers a fantastic set of tools to shape and edit your news package, all without ever leaving our main window. In our classic Burli Newsroom package, this includes built-in text and audio editing suites designed specifically with journalistic workflow in mind. In our newer Burli NE package, we handle images, PDFs, and video. Whatever your content, Burli makes building your news fast and easy.

Finally, once you’ve got everything just how you want it, build a script and take it to air with our configurable prompter. Or record and dispatch it to automation playout systems. Or publish it to your website. Or send it to social media. Or podcast it. Or all of the above! Take your news and publish it out to the world, exactly how you want to.

Strength in Our Service

At Burli, we pride ourselves on our commitment to our customers, offering 24/7 emergency technical support domestically and internationally. We create and release dozens of updates to our software every year. We choose a lot of our product development and new features on the direct suggestions of our dedicated customer base – nothing’s better than giving the customers what they want and need.

We are the leading newsroom system in Canada, and that’s no accident. We have customers of all sizes from coast to coast to coast. We’re also a significant presence globally in markets as diverse as the UK, South Africa, Taiwan, and the US.

Building the Future of Burli

We are turning Burli NE into the next generation news powerhouse the industry needs, with comprehensive support for almost every medium out there, a completely customizable user interface, and a rich API. Large multimedia news companies all over the world are discovering how easy NE can make their lives.

And Burli Newsroom continues to grow and develop even after 22 years, adding new features perfect for smart, lean users.

Whether you’re working today with Newsroom and want to know how it’s growing, or interested in the next generation Burli NE and the new ground it breaks, there’s always more to learn about Burli.

Should we get on a call to discuss your business and station goals? Fill out the details in the simple form below and I will be in touch shortly about your request.

Book Your Discovery Call

Admit it: You See Yourself Somewhere In This Morning Show Video


Film maker Mark W. Gray has a short form video starring Bill Jones (you may have seen him as the news man on Glee) that may hit a little too close to home!


The Stuph File Program – Episode #0438


Welcome to the latest edition of the Stuph File Program.

For a program list of the items included and all their accompanying links in this one hour show, you can find the information on my website in the Stuph File Program section, or just follow this link to #0438.

To download the podcast, right click here and select “Save Link As”

Featured in this episode:

Click logo for iTunes podcast subscription If you have any comments or suggestions, or items for the mailbag, feel free to click on the “Comments” link below to add your thoughts.

A Montreal French-Language Community Radio Station Has Laid Off All Of Its 13 Employees


A Montreal French-language community radio station has laid off all of its 13 employees as it looks for a way to restart its programming.

A letter sent to CIBL employees on Friday said the station’s leadership is looking for new funding arrangements and described the layoffs as temporary.

The station opened in 1980 and has launched the careers of several well-known Quebec media personalities including Jean-Rene Dufort, Marie-France Bazzo and Bruno Blanchet.

In 2012, the station moved its offices from Montreal’s east end to a pricier location in the entertainment district.

The vice-president of CIBL’s board of directors described the decision to lay off employees as difficult but inevitable given its financial troubles.

Lise Millette hopes fans and former employees of the station will come together to help save it.

“Today more than ever, if people like CIBL, if there are people who have come through CIBL, who started their careers at CIBL, it’s the time to give it a boost,” she said in a phone interview




A summary of CRTC decisions and on air changes affecting the Canadian radio landscape.


BC VERNON 107.5 CJIB From Hot AC (KISS FM) (ex-CKIZ) to Classic Hits BEACH RADIO. Includes CJIB-1 (ex-CKIZ-1) 93.9 Enderby.

BC SURREY 89.1 CKYE-1 Commercial. 83 watts (250 watts Max. ERP). South Asian. Simulcasts CKYE 93.1 Vancouver.
BC TSIDELDEL 104.5 CHTQ Aboriginal. 2 watts. Variety. T’silhqotin National Government.
QC WASKAGANISH 106.5 CHIU-4 Aboriginal. 48 watts. Variety. Simulcasts CHIU 106.5 Mistissini.

ON TORONTO 90.3 CJBC-HD1 240 watts. Simulcasts CBC Ici Musique CJBC FM 90.3 Toronto.
ON TORONTO 90.3 CJBC-HD2 240 watts. Simulcasts CBC Ici Premiere CJBC 860 Toronto.

AB EDMONTON 89.3 CJBT-cp Will become CIWE
AB EDMONTON 97.9 CFLU-cp Will become CFED
BC ENDERBY 93.9 CKIZ-1 Becomes CJIB-1

AB CALGARY 95.9 CHFM From KISS 95.9 to 95.9 CHFM. Includes CHFM-1 99.3 Banff.

BC SALMO 91.1 CFAD 60 watt Community station.
ON HEARST 92.9 CHYK-3 221 watt repeater of CHYK 104.1 Timmins.
ON KAPUSKASING 93.7 CHYX 3,200 watt repeater of CHYK 104.1 Timmins.
QC SHERBROOKE 88.1 VF8000 1 watt House of Worship station.
SK LAMPMAN 97.1 VF2121 1 watt repeater of CFMI 101.1 New Westminster.
SK PERDUE 100.9 VF2483 1 watt Tourist Information station.


AB GRANDE PRAIRIE 103.3 CHFA-5 Move from 90.5. Increase power from 5,000 to 25,300 watts. Raise antenna height. Relocate transmitter.
ON HAMILTON 94.7 CHKX-HD Decrease power from 7,080 to 6,026 watts.
ON TORONTO 92.5 CKIS-HD Decrease power from 920 to 783 watts.
ON TORONTO 101.3 CJSA-HD Decrease power from 60 to 51 watts.

ON THE CARPET ORANGEVILLE 103.5 CIDC Must de-emphasize its Toronto focus and air more local programming targeting Orangeville.

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The Stuph File Program – Episode #0437


Welcome to the latest edition of the Stuph File Program.

For a program list of the items included and all their accompanying links in this one hour show, you can find the information on my website in the Stuph File Program section, or just follow this link to #0437.

To download the podcast, right click here and select “Save Link As”

Featured in this episode:

Click logo for iTunes podcast subscription If you have any comments or suggestions, or items for the mailbag, feel free to click on the “Comments” link below to add your thoughts.

New Year’s Resolutions Every Radio Personality Should Keep!


For most of you, New Year resolutions feel like a forced, trite way to make a change. In fact, you may have already given up on the whole process. After all, if you really wanted to change, why wait around for January 1?

Sometimes we need a benchmark as a trigger point to get us to take action. It’s way too easy to push aside those adjustments and goals that are important, but not really time-sensitive.

To seriously make lasting changes, it’s important to create specific goals with a timeline. Doing it at the beginning of a new year is a natural time to refresh, adapt and make those changes that will lead to greater success in your future.

If you’re looking to set resolutions for next year, but are struggling for achievable ideas, you’ve come to the right place.

[tweet_box design=”box_09″]11 New Year’s Resolutions every air talent should keep[/tweet_box]

Here are resolutions that are worth considering:

New Year Resolutions: Preparation

Plan Your Show 2-3 Days In Advance

You know the current routine. The show is over, and we start prepping for tomorrow. That’s fine, but it’s short-sighted. Make it a priority to constantly prepare the show at least two days in advance, adjusting as needed in your daily planning sessions. This is detailed in the webinar on demand Turn Daily Life Into Daily Content.

Getting into this habit allows you to develop story arcs that carry over from day to day and provides a structure that helps you see the bigger picture, rather than getting caught in the weeds each day. It makes the prep process more productive and more fun.

It also helps you with our next resolution suggestion:

New Year Resolutions: Promote

Promote Tomorrow’s Show

If most of tomorrow’s show is already laid out in a schedule, you can easily promote the best content today!  One of the most effective methods of teasing upcoming segments is promoting “tomorrow at this time“.

Why? Most of the audience tuned in at any given time is available to listen the next day at the same time. That’s an opportunity you should use with specific promos and teases to capitalize on the existing audience!

Knowing what’s happening tomorrow can also provide content for forward momentum at the end of your show, with quick hooks that build anticipation for the next day. And, it makes far better copy for your recorded morning show promo than the tired “If you missed today’s show, here’s what you missed” promo.

Fine-tune those teasing skills with the webinar on demand 30 Teasing Tips in 30 Minutes. Or, brush up on all of your teasing skills here.

Identify Your Best Feature-And Get More Out Of It

The New Year is a great time to look back at your best-performing quarter hours. Dig into the ratings software and track performance over the entire year. Why do those quarter hours perform well? Which quarter hours drag you down? Why? If you have research available, use it to seek further insight!

The goal is to identify the content that causes the greatest listener response and become famous for it. Perhaps it’s one of your benchmarked features. Or an appointment tune-in moment for a contest or game. Or maybe you don’t have anything that stands out. This is the time to find your One Thing that can make you #1.

Then, figure out how you can squeeze more juice from it.Can you create a greater online presence for it? Should it be a podcast? Should there be bonus content available by download? Can you air the feature more often? How can you add a new twist to reinvent and freshen the concept?

Next, apply your findings on the air. Drop the features that don’t perform well and repeat your most popular one more often.

It’s also a good time to identify features that are “second tier” — the ones that are decently successful, but could be even more so if you optimized them. And, if you can’t find a way to improve them, it may be time to dump them entirely.

Improve Yourself

Want to become a better performer? You must stay fresh, motivated and just a little bit anxious. If you become bored your audience will soon be bored as well. And being boring is one of the 7 Deadly Sins of Radio Personalities. That means challenging yourself to constantly innovate. This will keep you from falling into ruts.

It doesn’t have to be anything major, but change things up each day. Introduce a segment with a different tactic. Change the production elements for a long-time feature. Get into a segment with a different technique for hooking your audience. Or just work on the techniques of executing content additives consistently.


You’ve probably heard that you have to win in the halls before you win on the air, and it’s true. Your co-workers can help make your show or hold it back. And it’s up to you to turn them into an asset that takes you higher.

The promotions director should be one of your closest allies. Make yourself available to help them do their job more effectively by volunteering to host events and appearances even if you’re not being paid. In the process, you’ll be amazed at how many paid opportunities come your way.

Make it your mission to meet more station advertisers and get to know them personally. The account executives will love you for it, because it makes their job easier, and you’ll probably increase your endorsement fees and live commercial opportunities.

This is the year to make a greater effort to be more immersed into the fabric of the station outside of your studio doors.

Start a Podcast

Podcasting is a growing mini-industry, but think about what it really is: Specific audio packaged for listening on demand. That’s it.

It’s easy to start a podcast, but difficult to promote it. You have the power to promote on the air! So start a podcast.

But please, a podcast is more than just a recording of your entire show from this morning. That’s not a service to the listener. It’s an ordeal. Identify specific topics that interest you and build a community around it. Or create a podcast around one of your most popular features.

As your podcast builds an audience, you’ll find ways to recycle your online audience into appointment tune-in moments on the air.

Update Your Website Daily

The number of static radio websites is sad. Make a commitment that this is the year you’ll make your site come alive with living, breathing content.

Replace that tired bio of each personality with highlights from this morning’s show (make it shareable), previews for tomorrow and content that takes the audience into a deeper, interactive relationship with your brand.

There are many ways to do it. For a great example, check out The Bert Show site.

And use video! It’s easy and inexpensive to set up a high quality video studio. Videos are a great way for listeners to get to know you in new ways and extend your personality in new ways.

Updating your site is like working out: You’ve got to do it consistently to see great results. You can’t just update it once a month and expect to rack up the results.

For more ideas on how to master your digital exposure, check out the webinar on demand 10 Digital Concepts to Build a Fanbase.

Get Smarter

The most successful people never stop learning. One of the best ways to keep up with trends in personality radio is to learn from those who are great at it. This can get the creative juices flowing, and help you become a more inspired personality.

Find shows you admire or have heard about and start a relationship. Listen to them regularly, borrowing (or stealing) the ideas and techniques that apply to your show.

The tough thing is, there’s so much content out there, you have to be discerning to find the really good stuff. We make it easy to find great new air checks, updated almost weekly-and with analysis here.

Not sure where to start? Become an Insider, with subscriptions starting at just $5 per month. We keep our community up to date with the best ideas and training for career growth.

Research Content

How many times have you launched a bit, expecting the phones to light up and….crickets? Many times, a slight tweak or a different angle makes all the difference in the world. Now you can pre-test your content, for free!

With Facebook and Twitter, it’s easy to run small tests — throw a topic out with a question or hook, and engage your audience to see how they respond. Then, introduce the same topic a couple of hours later with a different angle, a different hook.

You can also try your hooks on friends, family and co-workers. Pay attention to how they respond. Do they ignore you or engage in the conversation? Use that information when crafting your on-air content.

See how that performs. If it strikes an emotional chord on social media, it’s likely to resonate on the air too. By A/B testing content, you can launch that break with confidence, know which direction to steer it and have insight in how to promote it.

Measure Progress

In marketing, advertisers track their ROI. How are their commercials growing their business? In radio, it’s a little trickier. Ratings may not be the best measure of progress.

On-air growth is one of the most notoriously difficult things to measure, but also the key to unlocking career growth. So why not make it your New Year’s resolution?

Set up a system to save a show every week. Don’t pick just the best show, or the worst. Make it random. Archive it, save it as an Mp3 and label it clearly. Then, at least once a quarter, listen to how you sounded three months ago. Or six months ago. Or a year ago. or two years ago. How have you grown? Are you reaching your goals? Have you progressed? What were you doing well then that isn’t as sharp now?

Archiving and reviewing content regularly is a great way to chronicle your history and help you see the forest for the trees. I’m constantly amazed at how far shows I work with grow when reaching into the past to compare. And that’s reason to celebrate!


Growth should be continuous, but the beginning of a new year is a great excuse to make new plans and establish goals. What are your New Year Resolutions?

The Stuph File Program – Episode #0436


Welcome to the latest edition of the Stuph File Program.

For a program list of the items included and all their accompanying links in this one hour show, you can find the information on my website in the Stuph File Program section, or just follow this link to #0436.

To download the podcast, right click here and select “Save Link As”

Featured in this episode:

Click logo for iTunes podcast subscription If you have any comments or suggestions, or items for the mailbag, feel free to click on the “Comments” link below to add your thoughts.

How Does Free ‘Promotion’ Fit In To The Music-Streaming Era


By Stuart Dredge musically.com

The music industry’s view in the ‘value gap’ debate, at its simplest is ‘YouTube should pay higher music royalties’. Although the more complex version is ‘legislation should be changed to strip YouTube of its safe-harbour protection and thus put it in a position where it has to pay higher music royalties’.

In his appearance at the Slush Music conference in Helsinki, Beggars Group’s Simon Wheeler was talking about a different kind of value gap: the one between what labels and artists earn for streams of their studio recordings, and how they benefit (if at all) from the ‘promotional’ performances they record for radio stations, TV broadcasters, music blogs, YouTube channels and other media outlets.

“We have all these separate media partners who want to stay relevant to their audience, which I think is really important. So they’re looking at ways they can create more content: more output for their brands,” said Wheeler.

“And they want to go on-demand. They want to make it a catch-up service, or put it onto YouTube, or make it available as a podcast, or put it on their website or whatever else they want to do.”

The question for Beggars Group – although Wheeler stressed he thinks that all labels should be thinking about them – concern who owns the rights to these recordings, and how the revenues from them are shared between the media channels and rightsholders – and by extension the artists and songwriters.

The backdrop here is that historically, promotion of music and consumption of music were seen as two separate areas. Promotion, over there – be it magazine articles, radio sessions or videos on MTV – led to a purchase over here, likely an LP or CD in a store.

There may not always have been royalties from the promotion, but there was a clear and well-understood link to sales. But in the streaming age, Wheeler suggested that promotion and consumption “are all together in the same place” – mirroring comments made earlier at Slush Music by WMG’s Stu Bergen.

“Whether you’re listening to something on the radio or listening to a song on Spotify, for the end user they’re listening to music. There is no difference. Okay, on Spotify you can choose what you want to listen to and when you want to listen to it, but effectively it’s the same experience,” said Wheeler.

“And one of the things which we think about quite a lot is there’s only so much consumption time that you have: there’s limited amounts of time in anyone’s day for their music consumption: television, YouTube, radio, Spotify, Netflix all competing for a slice of your time.”

In this world, thinks Wheeler, a live radio session that’s been uploaded to YouTube by the broadcaster is competing for that listening time with the original studio recording. Which he stressed is not a reason to stop doing radio sessions, but rather a spur to think harder about the rights ownership and revenue-sharing questions in those cases.

“People say ‘Well we’re just going to put it on YouTube because it’s promotional’ and it’s like ‘I’m sorry? There is no more commercial platform than YouTube!’ Owned by one of the world’s biggest commercial companies, Google. So we can’t look at that as promotional,” he said.

“YouTube is the world’s biggest music service: the most amount of people, the most amount of music. If we give our rights or access to our artists to whoever it is – whether it’s radio, a blog, a YouTuber – and if we say that those rights are ‘promotional’ because you’re going to do something else [as a result] I think as an industry we’re running in to problems.”

“Someone watching something on YouTube doesn’t go ‘Oh actually, I’m just going to go off to Spotify and play the song because I liked that so much’. All they’re going to do is watch something else on YouTube.”

Which is where Wheeler’s belief that the music industry needs to kick its addiction to free ‘promotion’, while not forgetting that even in a world of platforms like Spotify, Apple Music and YouTube, there is still a place for these media partnerships.

“We still want to drive exposure for our artists. We still want to introduce people to our artists, to get them curious, turn them on to the music. We want to work with all these great media partners. Do we need to give the rights away for free? I would say we probably don’t,” said Wheeler.

“These are the kinds of more-sophisticated conversations we need to have. If you want to bring our artists in for a platform and record some of their work, we can talk about how you make it available, and we can talk about whether there’s some payments for rights, or if on YouTube there’s some revenue share to be done.”

He admitted that this can be a “tough conversation” particularly with radio and TV broadcasters, who in the UK and other countries have traditionally operated under blanket licences giving them access to the full catalogue of studio recordings, with set royalty fees.

“They’re important partners. But to give them rights that they then exploit for free? We’ve just got to work out between us how that’s going to work in future,” said Wheeler, who added that Beggars Group now has one member of staff whose entire job is essentially working on the terms of these partnerships.

“That’s our job, is to manage and be responsible for our artists’ rights. So we make sure every time they do a recording, they’re not creating work that people can make up a nice piece of vinyl on, or put it onto iTunes, put it onto Spotify, and sort of compete, and keep the revenue,” he said.

“We do make it very clear: who owns the recordings and what they can do with it. Sometimes it’s pretty fractious: people think ‘I’ve just paid to make this recording. Why can’t I do stuff with it?’ But it’s not like this type of model doesn’t exist.”

Where it exists is in partnerships with digital services like Spotify and Apple, who pay to record performances by artists, but then ensure the ownership remains with those artists and their rightsholders.

“It’s part of our own repertoire, it goes on the service and every time it gets played or viewed, then we and our artists earn the same as it would be if it was one of the studio recordings,” said Wheeler.

During the session, he also talked about the impact that streaming is having on Beggars Group’s wider roster of artists. While keen to avoid generalisations, he said that there has been a positive effect even for long-dormant artists.

“We’ve certainly opened a lot of artists’ royalty accounts over the past five years, which had been closed because there was no activity. There were no sales. The catalogues business, you have to be at a certain level before you’re selling anything to be really honest,” he said.

“Selling downloads opened it up a bit, but consumption – where once you’ve got that £9.99 or whatever the barrier is, you’ve got access to a wealth of stuff – it really does enable people to go deeper into the catalogue and explore more artists, or stuff they’ve forgotten about.”

“We’re certainly seeing that a number of our artists are getting paid where there were no royalties coming through before, so that’s clearly a positive thing. And we’re seeing the amount that streaming makes up of their royalty payments for some artists going up to 50%, 60%, 70% or even 80% nowadays.”

A few years ago, Beggars Group boss Martin Mills took a policy decision: that for older catalogue-artists who hadn’t released a new record for a certain amount of time, if they had an unrecouped balance, it would be written off.

“So that when the streaming royalties came through, they actually got paid something, rather than it just going to offset the unrecouped balance,” explained Wheeler, adding that the total amount of the write-off was “a really big number” – albeit one he wasn’t able to share.

“Martin said he’d made up his mind that he was never going to get that money back, so it was kind of gone for him. And then because he has very much an artist-friendly take on things, that was his way of saying now there’s actually some money coming through from listening, we are going to pay that through on a very generous streaming rate,” said Wheeler. “Hopefully it’s going to make some difference to a number of our artists.”

One of Beggars Group’s currently-active bands are Queens of the Stone Age, which signed with the company’s Matador Records label for their 2013 album ‘…Like Clockwork’, with the relationship continuing through their new release ‘Villains’.

Wheeler cited QOTSA as an example of an established band who have been able to reach new fans through streaming, which is paying off not just in royalties from those platforms, but in bigger, mixed-age crowds at their concerts.

“We did do a lot of work with Spotify to try and expose that act to a wider audience. And I think that really worked,” he said, while warning that streaming isn’t yet the pot of gold for most rock and alternative artists that it is for other genres.

“Maybe it’s the age of the users, maybe they’re not on streaming services as much as people who are into urban, hip-hop, pop or EDM styles,” said Wheeler.

“I think that’s an ongoing process, and I think we’re seeing it change all the time, as more and more people realise actually, it’s a sensible value proposition: If you’re a music fan, getting access to the world’s music for a monthly subscription of £9.99.”

Wheeler suggested that flexibility but also a willingness to stand up for its rights and artists will be key to labels trying to thrive in this environment.

“We can’t carry on doing what we were doing for that business now we’re in this business. The more we question what we’re doing, why we’re doing it and how we’re doing it – as an industry, that’s not just labels – it’s artists, managers, everyone involved – the better.”


How Talk Radio Stays Relevant In The Digital Age


By TechRepublic

Radio is now a state of mind, says Talkers Magazine’s Michael Harrison. Radio has evolved from a literal box to podcasts and online talk shows. Learn how publishers can break through the noise.

The birth of radio happened over a century ago. However with the advent of the car and personal listening devices, talk radio began to flourish. Today, radio is going through yet another transformation.

TechRepublic’s Dan Patterson met with Talkers Magazine’s publisher Michael Harrison to discuss the evolution of talk radio, and how technology is shaping its future.

“There is no one thing called talk radio anymore,” Harrison said. Because talk radio has such a major presence in the radio world, Talkers Magazine has evolved into a talk media publication that covers all type of radio.

In 2017, we have to look at this medium as a state of mind, he said, rather than a literal box that sits on the table—especially since most people listen to radio online or through a podcast. “On-demand is the element that has really changed everything,” he added.

Most radio shows are still monetized by advertising, but advertising is no longer the only way for these shows to make money. Most stations supplement their advertising by selling products directly to their audience, through their own product lines. However, to be successful doing so, stations must have a critical mass of listeners, and those listeners must be loyal, he said.

“The digital age has made it difficult for all media that sells advertising to evolve into the new business model,” Harrison said. “It’s much more difficult to sell advertising for the same amount of money.”

“We haven’t really come up with a way yet to comfortably embed advertsting into the digital space,” he added. “It’s very obtrusive. It’s annoying.”

These advertising issues combined with economic issues the radio industry has faced over the years have made it difficult for radio to transform into a successful 21st century business.

For radio shows to be successful in today’s digital age, they must target an audience that is underserved and passionate about a particular topic, and then gain credibility with them, he said. All of the content must be pertinent, good, and credible for people to believe in it.

The good news for people looking to get into the radio business is that it’s easier than ever to get your foot in the door with the technology that is available today. However, the bad news is that it’s much more difficult to fight through the noise to make your voice heard. “For just engaging an audience, the bar has never been higher,” Harrison said.

Vancouver: CBC Announces New Radio Hosts


Sandra Thomas / Vancouver Courier

The wait is over for fans of CBC Radio One.

It was announced on CBC this morning, Dec. 11, that Stephen Quinn, host of On the Coast, will replace Rick Cluff, longtime host of The Early Edition, Jan. 2.

Both shows focus on current affairs. The Early Edition is a morning show for listeners to start their day and includes everything from breaking news and traffic to local stories and interviews.

On the Coast features news highlights from the day, stories from Metro Vancouver neighbourhoods and community spotlights.

Taking over the afternoon spot from Quinn is Gloria Macarenko, who has been at the helm of CBC Radio One‘s noon show B.C. Almanac and TV host of Our Vancouver. A search is underway for a new host for B.C. Almanac.

CBC’s version of show-host musical chairs came after Cluff announced Dec. 4, he’ll be retiring Dec. 22. On that same day, listeners will be invited to share their memories of Cluff and many of those comments will air during the annual holiday request show.

Rick Cluff is leaving The Early Edition Dec. 22, making room for Stephen Quinn to take over the morning show. Photo Dan Toulgoet

Quinn joined CBC in 2000 and spent eight years as the national broadcaster’s civic affairs reporter, a post that spearheaded his passion for municipal politics, before joining CBC Radio One as host of On the Coast. A multiple Radio Television Digital News Association award winner, Quinn is known for his strong interview style and skill in prompting answers from notable subjects while delving into important issues. He is also creator of the popular Quinn’s Quiz segment.

“Hosting The Early Edition is my dream job,” Quinn said in an announcement Monday. “It’s Metro Vancouver’s radio show of record. It starts the conversation, sets the agenda and fuels the debate throughout the day. I hope to continue doing what the show is known for, excellent journalism, holding decision-makers to account, telling stories that come from all corners and all communities of the Lower Mainland, shining a light on our vibrant arts scene, and having some fun.”

Quinn added his heart has always been in local news and current affairs.

“No one does that better than The Early Edition and I’m so proud to be part of the team.”

Macarenko previously hosted CBC Vancouver News for many years and won multiple awards for her journalism, including a Jack Webster Award for Best News Reporting.

“I’m thrilled to host On the Coast come January, as I’ve had several opportunities to work with the afternoon team and I think it’s a great fit,” Macarenko said in the release. “I’ve been fortunate to interview British Columbians about important news stories and current events over the years, on television and on radio, and I look forward to exploring those hyper-local stories with our On the Coast listeners.”

Meanwhile, Cluff is looking forward to retirement after 41 years with the CBC. He started with The Morning Edition in 1997.