Monday, March 3, 2008

Radio: Is there a future?



Good morning, I am Dan Halyburton Market Manger for Emmis NY and 101.9 RXP

On March 4th a blog entry ran about an AD for Announcers for the new station. The source was Crain's.

The Crain's people reported that RXP was paying outrageously low salaries.

That Ad was categorically WRONG.

After a reporter at Crain's talked to our Marketing Director about developments at the station including hiring an air staff, The reporter took it on himself to write up an ad for the announcer positions without our help or input. He didn't know the salary so he called a head hunter and the numbers reported came from her. Clearly they are WRONG way below Aftra scale and we are paying above scale.

I wrote the blog to correct the information but because the blog is still up even with my correction which is ten entries down.The incorrect information continues to circulate.

I would really appreciate if you would delete the string. The base of the piece and the responses are clearly the result of an error and it's causing discussion and confusion about the station during an important formative time



Dan Halyburton
Senior Vice President
General Manager
Emmis New York

101.9 RXP


A friend e-mailed me this want ad from Crain’s New York Business over the weekend. It read:


JOB DESCRIPTION Looking for on-air personalities who can communicate their passion for rock music while spinning a good playlist

MOST IMPORTANT TASKS Hosting radio shows and writing online content and reviews

CREDENTIALS NEEDED Five years of radio experience, familiarity with the New York area and local rock scene

SALARY $40,000 to $50,000, based on experience


UPSIDE Having creative control over a radio show

DOWNSIDE The risk of working for a startup station

In February, Emmis Communications, owner of 98.7 Kiss-FM and Hot 97, launched WRXP 101.9, an adult rock station heard in the tristate area. In a market where formatted playlists rule, the station, formerly CD 101.9, now features a mix of rock songs from different genres chosen by on-air personalities and staff.

It’s format could be best described as “free form adult album alternative.” Here’s how its presented on their web site:

Welcome to 101.9 RXP – the New York Rock Experience. When we set out to create the new 101.9 RXP, we asked ourselves, "What would WE want to listen to on a radio station?" Several words kept coming up: Variety. Intelligent. Local. Here's what we mean:

The Rock Experience isn't just about one era or style of music. At RXP, we wanted to create a station that didn't draw the traditional lines in the sand that have compartmentalized radio stations into narrow formats over the years. So, we bring together classics, alternative, new music and a few surprises in a way no New York radio station has done in many years.

You can hear a lot of shtick and typical "radio hype" all over the New York radio dial. We know our listeners are smarter than that. So, we're building a team of knowledgeable and passionate DJs and staff who don't believe in pandering to the lowest common denominator. Respect for the music + Respect for our listeners – that's RXP.

New York City has an amazing musical heritage, so RXP won't be relying on corporate playlists. The music we play will be chosen and presented by our local, New York staff and DJs. We'll pay close attention to the music, concerts and events that are part of New York's rock scene and support up-and-coming local artists as well.

Let me put it another way. The New York radio graveyard is littered with a number of stations that tried similar rock format experiments, including the established WNEW-FM in their final days.

And did I read those salaries right?

They are looking for air talent to work in New York – the #1 radio market in America – for $40,000 to $50,000 a year? I’d assume a six-day week is a given.

And you need five years of experience? In what? Poverty?

Let’s compare what that salary is worth in major cities in states having presidential primaries tomorrow:

Cleveland, Ohio - $29,100.

Columbus, Ohio - $29,452.

Dallas, Texas - $29,110.

Houston, Texas - $28,425.

Burlington, Vermont - $36,644.

Providence, Rhode Island - $37,361.

I forwarded this Crain's classified to a couple of radio veterans. They replied:

“For 50K you can live at the Y or live in Scranton, PA and commute 300 miles daily. Sad. And how long will that creative control over your show last.”

“Yeah, they'll get some really good talent for that kind of money. The pick of the litter. And I do mean litter.”

You get what your pay for. That includes respect and dignity.

Ask yourself these questions:

What message does this send to radio air talent?

What message does this send to the ad community?

What message does this send to Wall Street?

You already know the answers.


Anonymous said...

You left one important element out. Who is going to sell this disaster? At best you'll get bottom of the barrel account executives that will have trouble closing a $30 spot.

Who in the world thought this one out? From the format to its concept it is a complete disaster.

radioman said...

A market New York's size should have both a country and Triple A format station. We are no closer to country and no closer to Triple A either. Maybe it is a gallant attempt to "bring back the sixties and early seventies" when free-form radio ruled. Did anyone bother to check the ratings of these totally free-form stations? I doubt any of them even got a two-share in any one demographic. This is reckless programming and an insane decision by a company I once had great respect for. I guarantee they will be "adjusting" this format for weeks and months to come before going on to the next format.
New York radio is made of winners and losers and this frequency has a history of losers.

Anonymous said...

This post sounds too much like Mark Ramsey.

Detroitradio said...

Emmis was a better company even when Joel Hollander was there. What happened. Does the Coot have anything to do with this mess?

Detroitradio said...

Emmis was a better company even when Joel Hollander was there. What happened. Does the Coot have anything to do with this mess?

Anonymous said...

Emmis used to be the company you wanted to work for. I remember when Malrite was another company with the same reputation. Emmis began its decline when the eye was taken off the ball (or in this case on the ball) and radio was regulated to second tier status. That allowed consultants and other shaman to enter and influence Emmis. Look at Chicago. The loop and Q101 destroyed. They have made similar mistakes in other markets which cost them dearly in ratings and revenue. If they truly believe that doing it cheaply in New York will pay off in any way they are sadly mistaken. The caliber of talent required to make this station work will not be attracted by these slave wages for a six day week. Plus RXP expects their jocks to keep up with what is going on in the New York rock scene which is actually dozens of different genres within rock and not all of them compatable. I feel bad for anyone who is in financial straits and has to take this job because it will actually be worse than being unemployed. You are right about asking about the future. Unless you are right about a mass sell off of stations.

Anonymous said...

I agree with everything everyone is saying here. I have one question - WHY DID EMMIS ADVERTISE THIS POSITION IN CRAINS? Dumb, dumb, incredibly dumb move.

Anonymous said...

EMMS goes retro in New York City and plans to make a go of it where so many others have failed with the same format and on-air boring stuff. WNEW could not make it and EMMS will. Give me a break.

This must be a dying gasp from a dead company.

Who approved such a stupid idea?
Some 60 year old who does not get
technology, music, marketing or sales. That has got to be the profile of someone so "out of it" in the company that they could waste anymore shareholder money.

Next they will have blow-up gorillas.

Who is running EMMS? Hire a person who gets music and technology or sell out to someone who does while you still can.

We are about to see some hard times and the weak will go for pennies on the dollar.

Funny how a company can kill itself.

That's what happens when you
hire the WRONG people.

Zanzibar said...

I love your radio friends' comments. Right on.

Anonymous said...

Emmis Management
Jeffrey H. Smulyan > Chairman of the Board, President, Chief Executive Officer
Officer Since: 1981
Age: 60

Patrick Walsh > Chief Financial Officer, Treasurer
Officer Since: 09/05/2006
Age: 39

Richard F. Cummings > President - Radio Division
Officer Since: 03/1984
Age: 57

Gary Thoe > President - Publishing Division
Officer Since: 02/1998
Age: 50

Paul W. Fiddick > President - International Division
Officer Since: 2002
Age: 57

Gary L. Kaseff > Executive Vice President, General Counsel, Director
Officer Since: 1998
Age: 59

Michael Levitan > Executive Vice President of Human Resources
Officer Since: 09/2002
Age: 49

Greg A. Nathanson > Director
Officer Since: 1998
Age: 60

Susan B. Bayh > Director
Officer Since: 1994
Age: 47

Richard A. Leventhal > Director
Officer Since: 1992
Age: 60

Emmis Communications Corporation is a diversified media company with radio broadcasting. The Company operates radio portfolio in the United States based on total listeners. It owns and operates seven FM radio stations serving three markets: New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. In addition, the Company owns and operates 14 FM and two AM radio stations in St. Louis, Austin, Indianapolis and Terre Haute. Additionally to its domestic radio and television broadcasting properties, the Company operates an international radio business, publishes several city and regional magazines, and operates television stations that are held for sale. Internationally, the Company owns and operates a network of radio stations in the Flanders region of Belgium, a national radio network in Slovakia, has a 59.5% interest in a national radio station in Hungary and has an approximate 60% interest in two national radio networks in Bulgaria. In December 2007, Emmis acquired Inforadio.
Emmis address»
One Emmis Plaza 40 Monument Circle Suite 700
Indianapolis, IN 46204

317-266-0100 (Phone)
317-631-3750 (Fax)
Company website:

Anonymous said...

What do they all have in common:

and now

They didn't know how to ROCK New York.

Anonymous said...

Emmis just made it public to anyone who didn't know it already that the radio industry is in dire straits. We know what will happen next. You have been saying it and at first I thought you were all wrong. Not anymore. Radio stations will devalue in price. As much as they gained in the 1990s they will lose over the next twelve months. I wonder if radio will be of any importance to people over the next year or will they become like the newspapers, Time, Newsweek, and other declining media.

Anonymous said...

"They are looking for air talent to work in New York – the #1 radio market in America – for $40,000 to $50,000 a year?"

That's union scale in NYC.

I don't know if you've ever worked in NYC, but if you're doing a regular airshift, the money you make will be a small portion of your income.

You should be able to pull in four times as much doing spots for agencies, voice-overs for industrial AV, and other work.

If you're doing morning drive, you will be able to land an endorsement deal pretty quick, which will pay you 6 figures.

So don't let the published salaries fool you.

As for the rock format, the real problem is that it's not a growth area. It's all fragmented, and has been for 15 years. The problem isn't radio, but the music.

Anonymous said...

The only thing more depressing than those salary numbers is that rookie NYPD cops get paid even less.

rockcat said...

In answer to a couple of "anoymouses" back. You are right about union minimum. The difference is that the jocks hired by WRXP will be least experienced and will have less opportunity to get voice-over work than those at other stations and personal appearance fees will be dependent on the success of WRXP and that success is highly doubtful. If the station has no clients and no street buzz their jocks will not be in demand. Chances are that even their morning show will be music intensive and personality will be downplayed. I agree with you on rock not being a growth format though much of that has to do with the rock being played on the radio being totally out of sync with what rock fans want to hear that crosses over from cult/specific genre to the mainstream.

The fact that rookie cops get paid even less is nothing short of a sin.

Anonymous said...

Endorsements? That is the biggest load of shit on this board. 6 figures? You're not in radio, are you, buddy.

Here's what a GM at a station loves to do to get you on board.

"Hey, we're offering you $30K a year guaranteed and then you'll get $250.00/hr for remotes and live appearances...we'll make sure you get at least 3 of those a week so that's at least another $750.00 a week!"

So, you take the gig and you get a remote every two weeks at the promised rate. What happened to the 3 remotes a week? Ohhhh, that's if the sales dept. SELLS a remote AND decides to use you.

That is a giant load of shit. Endorsements don't pay and neither do remotes.

Those poor kids will be making $40K TOPS.

Sad. And VERY EMMIS. I worked for them. Piece of shit company with piece of shit execs. and stupid, 25 year old GM's who ruin formats, airstaffs and clusters in general.

Get real.

22 year NY Radio vet said...

I just read the comments about supplemental income in NYC? Keep dreaming. That is not how it works. Those bonuses never trickle down to "cult" radio stations and this one will never be more than that. It is a cursed frequency that has been every format in the book from disco to punk since the 70's. Only the top jocks or production people get the bonus stuff these days. If the jocks hope they will get appearances from their sales deparment keep hoping.

Dan Halyburton said...


The information you recieved is clearly NOT TRUE. Many are likely aware that Emmis New York is an Aftra Shop. SCALE is clearly much higher than the incorrect information posted here. We are looking for a quality air staff. We will be paying competitive salaries. Emmis has been and continues to be a great company to work for with benefits that are among the best in the indistry. I had the priviledge of working for another great company SUSQUEHANNA RADIO for 25 years and Emmis shares many of the same fine qualities. We believe we have set our sites high with 101.9 RXP. There is alot of work to do but reaction for clients and listeners is extremely positive. I know we will have our detractors but we are working hard to bring a quality rock station to New York City. Dan Halyburton Market Manager

99-eX said...

I am not trying to be a wise ass or anything. Just the opposite. Rarely do I respond to a blog. This time I must. I read the comments from Dan Halyburton. I admire his loyalty to the company and that is about it. To compare today's Emmis to the great Susquehanna chain is absurd. Just ask anyone (esp. 99X) about the difference in working for Emmis v. Susquehanna. Susquehanna was a fine company to work for. All of the "fine" was quickly deleted when Emmis took control. I listened to RXP on line and frankly it is not fair to judge a station so early in its development. I can say that it has a long road ahead in its development if it wants to be a contender in the New York market. I am a new music person and even I would have kept the old jazz format over this approach. I will close by saying I harbor no disrespect for anyone in the Emmis organization. All I ask is that you please don't exaggerate or embellish Emmis v. Susquehanna. There is NO comparison.

Anonymous said...

Are Dan Halyburton's comments the definition of "drinking the Kool-Aid"?

Anonymous said...

Considering the amount of unemployed Clear Channel and Cox, employees Emmis will have no problem finding good people willing to work for poverty wages.
It’s a supply and demand thing! There are more radio people willing to work cheap, have no security and take more crap than usual all for the shot a fame. And it’s sad because ownership knows radio people will work cheap. Unless you’re a real star.. then you won’t be working for a start up on NY..

Employed by Emmis in the 90s said...

I don't get it. How can Dan Halyburton say

'The information you recieved is clearly NOT TRUE.'

They posted it in Crain's.

'Many are likely aware that Emmis New York is an Aftra Shop. SCALE is clearly much higher than the incorrect information posted here.'

Not according to my AFTRA figures.

'We are looking for a quality air staff. We will be paying competitive salaries.'

Competitive to what? Other stations? In the city?

'Emmis has been and continues to be a great company to work for with benefits that are among the best in the indistry.'

Emmis WAS a great company to work for. There was a time it was the BEST company to work for. But that is yesterday and yesterday is gone. Emmis is no different than the others now. It brought and bought into outside consultants whose influence destroyed many of the great Emmis stations (could we start with Chicago?). Emmis has made some terrible programming and marketing decisions over the past few years.

'I had the priviledge of working for another great company SUSQUEHANNA RADIO for 25 years and Emmis shares many of the same fine qualities.'

I see no shared qualities between what Susquehanna was and what Emmis has become.

'We believe we have set our sites high with 101.9 RXP.'

I go back to that want ad in Crains. That is NOT setting sites high.

'There is alot of work to do but reaction for clients and listeners is extremely positive.'

How many clients have bought time and for how much? I am sure you will receive positive reaction for trying something new. I doubt many will stick around for long. I had read about the 'committee' that put together this station. The joke will be how many consultants, marketers and programmers did it take to ruin a radio station in New York.

'I know we will have our detractors but we are working hard to bring a quality rock station to New York City.'

I do wish you the best, regardless. I do hope you do bring a quality rock station to New York.

Anonymous said...

When you are young and starting out in this business you will work for slave wages to get your foot in the door and develope your style. What Emmis is looking for is a minimum of five years experience. So they are asking you to work for slave wages even after you have paid your dues? I know it is a limited format and unless Emmis has really gone off the deep end they have to know that this station will never get numbers or revenue. This one is a real mystery. I don't think even a nitwit like Fred Jacobs would come up with a station like this and you should hear his AAA rip offs.

Anonymous said...

Don’t believe one optimistic word from any public figure about the economy or humanity in general. They are all part of the problem. Its like a game of Monopoly. In America, the richest 1% now hold 1/2 OF ALL UNITED STATES WEALTH. Unlike ‘lesser’ estimates, this includes all stocks, bonds, cash, and material assets held by America’s richest 1%. Even that filthy pig Oprah acknowledged that it was at about 50% in 2006. Naturally, she put her own ‘humanitarian’ spin on it. Calling attention to her own ‘good will’. WHAT A DISGUSTING HYPOCRITE SLOB. THE RICHEST 1% HAVE LITERALLY MADE WORLD PROSPERITY ABSOLUTELY IMPOSSIBLE. Don’t fall for any of their ‘humanitarian’ CRAP. ITS A SHAM. THESE PEOPLE ARE CAUSING THE SAME PROBLEMS THEY PRETEND TO CARE ABOUT. Ask any professor of economics. Money does not grow on trees. The government can’t just print up more on a whim. At any given time, there is a relative limit to the wealth within ANY economy of ANY size. So when too much wealth accumulates at the top, the middle class slip further into debt and the lower class further into poverty. A similar rule applies worldwide. The world’s richest 1% now own over 40% of ALL WORLD WEALTH. This is EVEN AFTER you account for all of this ‘good will’ ‘humanitarian’ BS from celebrities and executives. ITS A SHAM. As they get richer and richer, less wealth is left circulating beneath them. This is the single greatest underlying cause for the current US recession. The middle class can no longer afford to sustain their share of the economy. Their wealth has been gradually transfered to the richest 1%. One way or another, we suffer because of their incredible greed. We are talking about TRILLIONS of dollars. Transfered FROM US TO THEM. Over a period of about 27 years. Thats Reaganomics for you. The wealth does not ‘trickle down’ as we were told it would. It just accumulates at the top. Shrinking the middle class and expanding the lower class. Causing a domino effect of socio-economic problems. But the rich will never stop. They will never settle for a reasonable share of ANYTHING. They will do whatever it takes to get even richer. Leaving even less of the pie for the other 99% of us to share. At the same time, they throw back a few tax deductable crumbs and call themselves ‘humanitarians’. Cashing in on the PR and getting even richer the following year. IT CAN’T WORK THIS WAY. Their bogus efforts to make the world a better place can not possibly succeed. Any 'humanitarian' progress made in one area will be lost in another. EVERY SINGLE TIME. IT ABSOLUTELY CAN NOT WORK THIS WAY. This is going to end just like a game of Monopoly. The current US recession will drag on for years and lead into the worst US depression of all time. The richest 1% will live like royalty while the rest of us fight over jobs, food, and gasoline. Crime, poverty, and suicide will skyrocket. So don’t fall for all of this PR CRAP from Hollywood, Pro Sports, and Wall Street PIGS. ITS A SHAM. Remember: They are filthy rich EVEN AFTER their tax deductable contributions. Greedy pigs. Now, we are headed for the worst economic and cultural crisis of all time. SEND A “THANK YOU” NOTE TO YOUR FAVORITE MILLIONAIRE. ITS THEIR FAULT. I’m not discounting other factors like China, sub-prime, or gas prices. But all of those factors combined still pale in comparison to that HUGE transfer of wealth to the rich. Anyway, those other factors are all related and further aggrivated because of GREED. If it weren’t for the OBSCENE distribution of wealth within our country, there never would have been such a market for sub-prime to begin with. Which by the way, was another trick whipped up by greedy bankers and executives. IT MAKES THEM RICHER. The credit industry has been ENDORSED by people like Oprah, Ellen, Dr Phil, and many other celebrities. IT MAKES THEM RICHER. Now, there are commercial ties between nearly every industry and every public figure. IT MAKES THEM RICHER. So don’t fall for their ‘good will’ BS. ITS A LIE. If you fall for it, then you’re a fool. If you see any real difference between the moral character of a celebrity, politician, attorney, or executive, then you’re a fool. WAKE UP PEOPLE. ITS ALL ABOUT THE MONEY. The 1% club will always say or do whatever it takes to get as rich as possible. Without the slightest regard for anything or anyone but themselves. Vioxx. Their idea. Sub-prime. Their idea. NAFTA. Their idea. Outsourcing. Their idea. The commercial lobbyist. Their idea. The multi-million dollar lawsuit. Their idea. $200 cell phone bills. Their idea. $200 basketball shoes. Their idea. $30 late fees. Their idea. $30 NSF fees. Their idea. $20 DVDs. Their idea. Subliminal advertising. Their idea. The MASSIVE campaign to turn every American into a brainwashed credit card, pharmaceutical, love-sick, celebrity junkie. Their idea. All of which concentrate the world’s wealth and resources and wreak havok on society. All of which have been CREATED AND ENDORSED by celebrities, athletes, and executives. IT MAKES THEM RICHER. So don’t fall for their ‘ good will’ ‘humanitarian’ BS. ITS A SHAM. NOTHING BUT TAX DEDUCTABLE PR CRAP. Bottom line: The richest 1% will soon tank the largest economy in the world. It will be like nothing we’ve ever seen before. and thats just the beginning. Greed will eventually tank every major economy in the world. Causing millions to suffer and die. Oprah, Angelina, Brad, Bono, and Bill are not part of the solution. They are part of the problem. EXTREME WEALTH HAS MADE WORLD PROSPERITY ABSOLUTELY IMPOSSIBLE. WITHOUT WORLD PROSPERITY, THERE WILL NEVER BE WORLD PEACE OR ANYTHING EVEN CLOSE. GREED KILLS. IT WILL BE OUR DOWNFALL. Of course, the rich will throw a fit and call me a madman. Of course, their ignorant fans will do the same. You have to expect that. But I speak the truth. If you don’t believe me, then copy this entry and run it by any professor of economics or socio-economics. Then tell a friend. Call the local radio station. Re-post this entry or put it in your own words. Be one of the first to predict the worst economic and cultural crisis of all time and explain its cause. WE ARE IN BIG TROUBLE.

Anonymous said...

And after you've done that, open your windows and yell "I'M MAD AS HELL AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANYMORE!" ARRRRRRRGGGGHHHH!!!!!!

Frmr EMMS said...

Emmis was a great company. Jeff was the perfect CEO. Then they went public and Jeff changed. He got involved with the Mariners and radio suffered. Now he had to please the shareholders. He got more hands on with his magazines. More problems there. Back in radio he had some of his management team come up short. It was a slow spiral downward. Momentum and gravity took over and Emmis is now in a free fall with poor judgements being made with their largest markets (New York, LA, Chicago). What happened in Chicago could have been avoided but he bought Fred Jacobs's hype. His people blew it in L.A. It's bad enough that his stations got too street political in NYC. This move with WRXP may be his most costly and disasterous one to date.
He is a nice guy still but falls for the inbreds in this industry and that is what is killing his company. He needs to connect with his inner self - the person that made Emmis happen and clear the room of the phonies he has collected over the years. I watched it come down. His friends are not his friends. His advisors are phonies and some of his management team needs to be reevaluated.

Anonymous said...

"Endorsements? That is the biggest load of shit on this board. 6 figures? You're not in radio, are you, buddy."

Yep. Six figure endorsement deals are not uncommon for Top 10 market morning show hosts. If you're not getting it, it's time to get an agent. And if you're not big time enough to have an agent, don't criticize my post.

We demand to know said...

What is wrong with U.S. radio?

They are as bad as Bush and Iraq.

We are having problems with our stations so instead of fixing them we are going to invade a new frequency that no one has access to and rebuild our studios for hundreds of thousands and fabricate side-channels featuring half assed poor imitation of satellite and internet radio formats.

We get ourselves in Iraq and can't get out and it's draining our economy.

Radio got itself into a bad investment with HD radio and now it can't get out.

You would think that U.S. radio would have looked at DAB in Europe and realized that this was not the way to go when all media use in migrating to the internet.

That is why there is a scam afoot here. Is the HD radio alliance still another Clear Channel scam or are they just 'renting' space at CC world domination headquarters?

Who is getting the kickbacks and why?

I think the FCC and FTC should investigate this HD radio scam.

Anonymous said...

The FCC is now a wholly owned subsidiary of the NAB and is not going to investigate anybody except for tiny noncommercial stations that play song lyrics with George Carlin's seven dirty words in them.

Anonymous said...

Hey John - any chance you can confirm this is the same link you saw?

If so, it now shows NO salary figure - but it's dated March 01. 2008 9:32PM, before your article's publish time.

What I'm curious to know is if that number vaporized shortly before your article went up or afterward, sans an update time (I'd personally begin to consider questioning their journalistic integrity if the latter)...

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