Thursday, August 12, 2010

12 AUG 10: Rock on a Roll

Some of you probably won't be surprised by this -- but I've never been a big rock music fan. If someone mentions Weezer, I think of the wife of George Jefferson in the old TV comedy....

But the Columbus area has plenty of rock music fans - and they've apparently listened to FM radio a lot in recent months. The spring radio ratings were released the other day, and WVRK "Rock 103" saw its audience nearly double from last fall. A lot of young men must have talked their girlfriends out of listening to John Tesh down the dial.

Rock 103's big gain put it within a couple of rating points of long-time local leader WFXE-FM. That's the closest a station has come to "Foxie 105" in several years -- close enough that DJ's with hip-hop music turned up might be able to hear Lynyrd Skynyrd in the distance.

The big jump for Rock 103 seems even more surprising because of the season. You'd think the station's ratings might be higher in the fall, due to Auburn football games. Then again, maybe Alabama and Georgia fans think spring is the safer time of year to listen.

So what caused the big growth spurt at Rock 103? Did I miss a big promotional event to draw listeners - like John Boy and Billy giving away free cases of their new sweet tea?

We sent an online message to Rock 103 afternoon host Chris Chaos Wednesday, asking about the ratings jump - only to discover Wednesday night he was locked up. It was only a fund-raising stunt to fight muscular dystrophy. So I guess police don't mind this weekend's apartment complex bikini contest.

While Rock 103 was the big gainer in the spring radio ratings, the big loser was WKZJ-FM. "K-92.7" lost about one-fourth of its listeners - and if that trend continues, the "Quiet Storm" in the evening is going to get downright noisy.

Several recent changes in Columbus radio didn't seem to have much impact in the spring ratings. WLTC-FM "Lite 103.7" had the same score as contemporary Christian "The Truth" did at that spot one year before. Listeners may have heard Donny Osmond during the middle of the day, and concluded nothing had changed.

Ed Bostic's big move from WGSY-FM to WRLD-FM didn't change the ratings much. "Sunny 100" held steady from fall to spring, while "95.3 the Ride" actually dropped a bit. Let's face it - having Bostic and Alice Cooper host shows on the same station is about as curious as Krystal trying to sell chicken wings.

WSTH-FM had virtually unchanged ratings, despite changing its name from "Rooster 106" back to "South 106.1." At least things didn't go DEEP South - you know, down to zero listeners.

The biggest gamble in Columbus radio during the spring saw WRCG drop its talk shows and become "Boomer 106.9." Yet the end result was the same - as the station didn't show any adult listeners at all. The grumpy Neal Boortz listeners must have remained grumpy, and moved on to other stations.

In fact, Boomer 106.9 was part of the most curious aspect of the spring radio ratings. None of the sports talk stations showed any numbers. Nor did WRCG, which carries Atlanta baseball games and NASCAR races. Yes, indeed - Columbus is a terrible sports town. That's why Scott Miller isn't even calling Little League games on radio this week.

BLOG UPDATE: Karen Handel conceded the Georgia Republican runoff for Governor Wednesday to Nathan Deal. The vote totals were so close that she could have asked for a recount. But instead, hundreds of thousands of voters now are free to fly off the Handel.

A few people were disappointed that Karen Handel did NOT call for a recount. After all, she claimed to be "stronger than an ox." She was Ms. "Bring It On." Now the next thing Handel will "bring on" is luggage for a vacation.

Karen Handel indicated her concession was designed to unite the Republican Party for the November showdown against Democrat Roy Barnes. The question now becomes whether all Republicans will go along with that -- and whether Sarah Palin can bring herself to support a "Papa Grizzly."

Karen Handel finished first in the Republican primary for Governor. But Nathan Deal came from behind to win the runoff. Does this mean most Georgia Republicans are uncomfortable about having a female Governor? Or were they concerned she might get a big ego, and start playing Handel's "Messiah" all over the state?

Meanwhile, Senator Johnny Isakson brought out his first campaign commercial Wednesday. A woman in the ad declares Isakson's Democratic opponent "supports President Obama." How utterly shocking is this?! Georgia has at least one Democrat who does NOT act like Zell Miller....

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E-MAIL UPDATE: Who needs "Shark Week" on cable TV when you have home burglary week here?

Richard, my brother's home was burglarized a few weeks ago and he saw the two guys that apparently did the crime. He was cutting grass and two men in a dark colored SUV drove slowly by and he politely nodded as they continued on to turn around at the dead end street beyond his house. He and his family had leave to go to the airport in Atlanta less than hour later and the same two guys are the ones that broke into his house. An elderly neighbor across the street saw them and thought nothing suspicious was going on, that maybe he had hired them to do some work. As per the neighbor's description of the "alleged" burglars, the manner in which they were dressed indicated possibly they were gang members from the east side of the Chattahoochee as many have told him. The neighbor also said that the men pulled next to the curb opposite of their home in less than five minutes after they left. People need to be more aware of any strange activity going on around their homes. In your home is where the most valuable possessions are (family) and the most expensive items that you have and its ashamed that the "just" have to suffer for the actions of the "unjust."

Hmmmm -- how do Columbus gang members dress? Should we automatically assume tattoos with devils are prepared with blue ink?

We're still seeking reports of home burglaries which occur while you're on road trips, especially by air. In the meantime, let's see what else happened Wednesday....

+ The first group of battle tanks from Fort Knox, Kentucky arrived at Fort Benning, as part of base realignment. More than 150 eventually will be moved - with none left at Fort Knox to say "tanks for the memories."

+ WTVM reported the Russell County Commission discussed building a new four-lane road from Fort Mitchell to the Alabama gate of Fort Benning. That should thrill all the families buying new homes there - at least until someone tell them the road is likely to be crowded at 5:00 a.m.

+ Phenix City School Superintendent Larry DiChiara told WXTX student attendance on opening day was 500 more than expected. Things are getting so crowded that mobile home residents in Pittsview might be able to make extra money, renting space by the hour.

+ Columbus Northern came from behind again to rout Ripley, West Virginia 9-3 in the Little League Southeast semifinals. Northern struck for seven runs in the fifth inning - enough to make even Ripley fans say, "Believe it or not...."

(ESPN's broadcasters confirmed Northern's Knox Carter is a cousin of 2006 Little League World Series star Kyle Carter. The staff at Knox Pest Control probably wishes he also was a star pitcher.)

+ The Fresh Market opened its Columbus store on Bradley Park Drive, and attracted a big crowd. Based on the promotional ads I've seen for this store, these shoppers must consider Publix a discount house.

+ Instant Message to Publix: I've been meaning to tell you about that "season's peak" sign for Alaskan salmon. It says you get the fish from the "pristine waters" of Prince William Sound. Do your executives invest in Exxon Mobil or something?

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author -- not necessarily those of anyone else in Columbus living or dead, and perhaps not even you.

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