Wednesday, February 27, 2008

‘Morganizing’ the Virgin Islands

We’re going to be tracking down former Omaha on-air personalities in the coming weeks for a where are they now-type of series. Up first, a former KGOR 99.9 FM) morning show host who was recently accused of being a member of the Ku Klux Klan.

Roger W. Morgan, who made his “Morganizing” prank phone calls a staple on his Omaha morning shows, now is the owner/operator of WYAC-FM in Christiansted, U. S. Virgin Islands.

Last year, the Federal Communication Commission dismissed a bid by a coalition of Virgin Islands senators and citizens to deny the transfer of the WAYC-FM broadcasting license to Morgan. Morgan had run the station for four years, and the FCC ultimately sided with Morgan.

“We own it ... finally,” Morgan said this week. “It was a long battle in which I was accused of being a member of the Ku Klux Klan! I was also accused of trying to overthrow the government of the U.S. Virgin Islands.”

Morgan said the island’s senators were angry because the on-air personality allowed callers to discuss their (the senators’) “outrageous raises at a time when the kids here are living under the federal poverty line and not enjoying the kind of education that our taxpayers try to provide for them.”

Morgan said he’s hosting a 6-9 a.m. morning show similar to the one he did on KGOR in the 1990s. Then, from 9 a.m. to noon, Morgan hosts “Free Speech,” in which callers are encouraged to call in and voice their opinions.

Asked if he missed the winters in Omaha, Morgan said: “As much as I still think of Omaha as being ‘home,’ and as much as I would enjoy visiting, even during ice and snowstorms, I can’t imagine life anywhere but in this paradise. Year-round, the high temp is about 83 and nighttime lows are about 78. Gentle morning rain showers and light trade winds in the afternoon. It just doesn’t get any better than this.”

Monday, February 25, 2008

The Death of R-O-C-K in Omaha?

When the latest report from the Arbitron radio ratings service came out at the end of last month many longtime rock radio listeners in Omaha no doubt did a double take.

Heritage rock and roll gorilla Z-92 (KEZO-FM), launched in 1978, had been overtaken by 2-year-old rock station the Brew (96.1 KQBW-FM) in the broadest demographic of listeners available, during the Fall 2007 rating period.

Listeners 12 and older, Monday through Sunday 6 a.m. to midnight, chose the Brew – a 4.2 share to a 3.9 share – over Z-92.

Sure, advertisers seek specific demos, such as the coveted adults 25- to 54-year-old group, but the 12-plus result is significant nonetheless.

While the Brew led Omaha’s rock stations, the Brew was No. 8 with listeners 12 and older overall. The top three stations were, in order: News-talk KFAB (1110 AM), country station the Kat (KXKT 103.7 FM) and oldies KGOR (99.9 FM).

Two of the Omaha market’s other rock stations were lagging as well. New station the Big O (KOOO 101.9 FM), a light rock station that went on the air two months ago, came in at No. 10 (behind No. 9 Z-92). Meanwhile, longtime classic rock station CD-105.9 (KKCD-FM) was No. 12.

So where has the rock gone on commercial stations in Omaha? Are their too many rock stations sharing the same play list, with the same usual suspects – the Eagles, the Police, Bon Jovi, Fleetwood Mac, Eric Clapton, Journey, Bryan Adams, John Mellencamp, the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, etc.?

“Yawn,” seems to be the response from local listeners.

The River (89.7 FM), a non-commercial station based out of Iowa Western Community College in Council Bluffs, plays a lot of modern rock and has respectable ratings. However, scoring good ratings and selling advertising based upon those ratings is not the main goal for non-commercial stations like it is for commercial stations.

The biggest story in this latest report for Omaha’s commercial rock stations is that the once-mighty Z-92 appears to be slipping. Z-92 has beaten all of the other rock stations consistently in recent years, including the past five ratings periods. But from Fall 2006 to Fall 2007, Z-92 went from having a 7.1 share of the 12-plus market to a 3.9 share.

It could be a fluke, and likely is. I expect Z-92 to bounce back in the next ratings period. Maybe not to the station’s glory days, but certainly better than a 3.9 share.

"Over the years, there has been plenty of rock competition for Z-92. That's nothing new," said Steve Wexler, executive vice president of television and radio operations for the Journal Broadcast Group, which owns Z-92. "They seem to show up every couple years then disappear. There's not much to 'tweak' on Z-92. We know that our audience expects us to play everything that rocks...they expect to start their day with Todd and Tyler in the morning...and they expect fun, larger-than-life contests and promotions, like the 'Todd and Tyler Party Plane to Vegas,' which starts next month. That hasn't changed and won't change. As for the Fall ratings, we've learned over the years not to pay much attention to the occasional 'down' ratings book. I can tell you that we're extremely happy with Z-92's performance and it's continued dominance."

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Sharpe Is Huskers' New Football Play-by-Play Man

Tuesday's hiring announcement of Greg Sharpe as the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's footbal and baseball play-by-play announcer ends months of speculation about who would replace Jim Rose.

Sharpe is a two-time Kansas Sportscaster of the Year who was the play-by-play voice of Kansas State football and basketball from 1996 to 2002. A press release from the Husker Sports Network said he will continue to work as an announcer for Fox Sports Net in addition to his hosting duties for the Nebraska football and baseball TV coaches' shows.

He most recently has served as the Director of Operations at WIBW, where he has overseen a staff of 52, making programming decisions and assisting with sales accounts, marketing efforts and station promotions.

Sharpe is a native of Olathe, Kan.

'Unsportsmanlike Conduct' Conducts Super Tuesday Stadium Poll

KOZN (1620 AM) afternoon sports talk show "Unsportsmanlike Conduct" used a poll Tuesday afternoon to gauge listener interest in the debate over renovation of Rosenblatt Stadium and the desire to build a new baseball station in North Downtown Omaha.

The "Super Tuesday" poll offered five choices of action:

-Approve of building a new stadium in NoDo, using public funds as needed to provide for the cost.

- Approve of building a new stadium in NoDo, provided no public dollars are used to fund said stadium.

- Omaha should rebuild Rosenblatt at its current location, provided no public dollars are used to fund the rebuild of the said stadium.

- Omaha should rebuild Rosenblatt at its current location, using public funds as needed to provide for the cost.

- Omaha should neither build a new stadium nor rebuild Rosenblatt.

Results of the non-scientific poll were being shared with listeners throughout Tuesday's program.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Matt Perrault Fires Back At Jim Rose

Matt Perrault, courtesy of BigSports590.comKXSP (590 AM) afternoon sports talk show host Matt Perrault spent time Thursday responding to the article published in this week's Media Watch column in the latest edition of the Omaha City Weekly.

During the 3 p.m. hour of "The Big Show," Perrault said he "doesn't really like Jim Rose," and shared with listeners the story of a lunch the two had at the Ironwood Country Club a few weeks after Perrault arrived in Omaha in April of 2005.

"I remember calling my ex-girlfriend right after that and I said, 'I've just had the most ridiculous lunch with the most pretentious man I've ever met in my life,'" Perrault said. "From that moment on, I just (said) Jim Rose and I will not get along."

Perrault said he has not spoken to Rose recently, but the two have crossed paths - including once during "a funny night" at a bar in Downtown Omaha.

"It was literally like 'Anchorman' where you had all the KFAB people on one side and all the Big Sports 590 people on the other," he said. "I felt like we were going to have a brawl."

Perrault took issue with Rose's assertion that the former Husker football play-by-play man has received more than 3,000 e-mails of support and that "The Big Show" has not received 3,000 e-mails since it debuted nearly three years ago.

"I probably get a thousand e-mails in a week," Perrault said. "Why would you even try to crack back on a dumb statement like that? There's no need for that. It makes you look stupid."

Although he didn't elaborate on his sources, Perrault stuck to his story that Greg Sharpe will be the new play-by-play voice of the Nebraska football team.

"We can all start fresh," he said. "Callahan's gone. Pederson's gone and Jim Rose is gone. It's a win, win, win for everyone."

Big show Co-host Travis Justice joined Perrault later on Thursday's show and called Rose's statement about not knowing Bo Pelini's wife, Mary Pat, a lie. But he was also quick to say that it wasn't really an issue.

"That's a lie because I watched him go in and say hi (at the press conference to announce Pelini's hiring as head coach)," Justice said. "I don't care if he went in to say hi. Keep in mind that there's a relationship there between those two. During Bo's time as head coach the first time around, Jim was the voice there. Jim hosted the TV show. Jim was on the road with them down at the Alamo Bowl."

Justice said he likes Rose and has never had a problem with him.

"Sometimes you (referring to Perrault) and I get mixed up," Justice said. "I don't care what you think about Jim. But I've known him for the 14 years that I've been here. I've never had a problem with him. I like Jim. Every time that we see each other we say hi and have some conversation. I didn't think I attacked him, personally."

Listen to the "The Big Show" segments regarding Rose here: 3 p.m. hour, Part I, 3 p.m. hour, Part II, 4 p.m. hour.