Radio’s Believe It or Not

Over the course of each month, many of my readers have a chance to check in with paranormal radio stories that can be so bizarre that they belong in Ripley's Believe It Or Not.

These are real stories from real radio people about unbelievable things that have actually happened in the radio industry.

To give you a comparison, in the book “The World of Ripley’s Believe It or Not” you read the story of a world champion chicken picker who could catch, kill, cook and eat a chicken in less than two minutes.

Or a woman named Alice Penfold who could lift her sister Mary on a stool using only her teeth.

And there's "Three Ball Charlie" who could put a tennis ball, golf ball and billiards ball in his mouth and still whistle or Liu Ch'ung of China who has double pupils in each eye.

I believe Radio's Believe It Or Not can beat that this month.

Firing a Top Citadel GM Is Positive

40 years with WIVK, Knoxville. Started as a teen. Cranking out an estimated $14 million a year in the market currently as VP/GM – that’s just a mere 60% of all radio ad dollars and Ed Brantley runs into the buzzsaw known as Judy Ellis.

Here’s how an insider tells it:

“In making the announcement Judy (Ellis) told the staff that anyone heard saying anything negative about Citadel will be terminated immediately. I wonder if that is considered negative? I guess that must be positive because if not she’d have to be terminated!”

It’s Not Nice to Fire All Radio’s Personalities

From a Nashville cat:

"WUBL/Atlanta APD/MD Lance Houston moderated the morning Normal People: From The Mouths Of The Consumer session, which surveyed Nashvillians Ashley (15), her mother Karen (40), Billy (22), Kathleen (40) and Jeff (50) and from a Music City suburb, Stephanie (32). Each have iPods and high-speed Internet and Stephanie, Kathleen and Jeff are Sirius XM subscribers. Jeff acknowledged he hasn’t listened to terrestrial radio in nine months, while it has been three years for Stephanie.

Out of the six participants, Karen was the only 100% country fan and she doesn’t purchase music, except for her children. Karen, Billy, Stephanie and Jeff all recognized only one Nashville morning host, with Billy stating he would turn off a DJ if he didn’t like the topic, 'with the exception of Gerry House'.”

I'm told none of the participants could name the AM drive talent on WKDF or WSM-FM.

I’ve said it a million times – the one thing terrestrial radio has that cannot be compromised by an iPad, iPhone, Pandora, WiFi – nothing – is radio personalities with a fan following.

Unfortunately, you may remember that Clear Channel cut the budget for the popular Gerry House Show -- the one average listeners like enough to recall their name forcing the firing of sidekicks and imposing other content cutbacks.


The “Clear Channel Emergency Channel”

Recently KYOT right here in my own adopted home market of Phoenix went off the air in afternoon drive.

But instead of tracking smooth jazz (its format) until the technical problems were solved, someone at CentCom switched on the “Clear Channel Emergency Channel” which played rock hits followed after each and every song by a liner telling listeners that they were listening to the "Clear Channel Emergency Channel”.

What’s funnier (or more tragic) is that each liner gave out an 800-number for listeners to call.

Shouldn’t that be the other way around?

Let me get this right, Clear Channel wants listeners to call them and tell them they are off the air?

One commenter said “Dead air would have been a much better choice until whatever problems were resolved”.

No worries.

The People Meter picks up everything even if country programming is actually rock because what this episode shouts from on high is that nobody is listening – not station people or listeners. But thank God PPM doesn’t care what people actually listen to – just that the carrier is back on playing anything at all.

Cumulus Looking for a Few Good PDs with No Experience

To borrow a phrase from "The Rebel" Bill Wright of WIBG fame in Philadelphia, “you heard this rebel right”.

Programming experience not required.

Are we having a trust issue on this item or would you like me to go to the tape?

“Looking for a Morning Host/PD at our 50,000 watt Heritage News Talk 940 WMAC in Macon, GA. The right candidate should have a minimum of 3 years on air experience with programming experience a plus but not required. Please send your aircheck, resume, and references to You can also mail your package to the address below. No calls please. Cumulus is an equal opportunity employer”.

That recent hire from Cintas uniform company is licking his chops.

No programming experience required because they won’t be programming. Just carrying repeater radio syndication and voice tracking.

Cumulus just signed on with MTV to carry a new Westwood One “80’s” syndication. See how easy it is to be a Cumulus program director these days?

At Cumulus No Research Is Good Research

A longtime friend reminded me of an alleged scam he said took place at Cumulus stations years ago.

But let me let him tell it:

“Your coverage of Cumulus' corporate allocation charges to stations reminded me of a scam that they ran years ago. It involved money for "market research" that was charged to stations. The stations were never involved with or saw the results of the research but they were paying Lew's former company, Stratford Research. We all assumed they did NO research and that it was just a way to legally scrape more cash into Dickey's back pocket. Looks like history is repeating itself”.

Citadel: You Can't Hire Our Fired.

Did you notice that great line in Tom Taylor’s Radio-Info not too long ago that said it all:

"Citadel doesn't want competitors 'cherry picking' its talent, gets court okay to keep severance packages confidential."

Come again?

Citadel doesn’t want to keep or pay their own talent yet they asked a bankruptcy judge to keep details about all severance packages confidential to avoid competitors from “cherry picking” and hiring their fired employees.

And the court approved it!

Believe it or not.

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