This morning I have the sad duty of delivering the eulogy for this, the Entertainment & Travel section, or E&T; as it is known to its close personal friends.
Today is the last day of E&T.; While it has always been very popular with readers, it has become a casualty of rising newsprint costs.
Let’s go right to the Boss Man to get The Spokesman-Review’s official word:
“Entertainment & Travel has been an excellent vehicle for readers interested in these topics,” said Chris Peck, managing editor. “But the newspaper needed to find a different way to present the content with less newsprint.”
So beginning next Sunday, there will be a new Outdoors & Travel section, combining the travel news that has been in E&T; with the Outdoors news that has been in the sports section. The entertainment news will be put in the Sunday IN Life section.
Wait a minute, you’re saying. How does it save newsprint to kill one section (E&T;) and add another one (Outdoors & Travel)? Because this enables us to do away with another section entirely, a grab-bag section we called a “cross section.” It all has something to do with press configurations and advertising flyers. Don’t ask.
The good news is that Sunday’s IN Life will now have more pages, so it should be able to handle most of the entertainment news that is presently in E&T.;
That, you’ll be vastly relieved to know, includes Spotlight. Look for the new entertainment package next week, beginning on page 3 of IN Life.
I asked readers to call in with suggestions about who should open the new Spokane Arena in September. Some of the suggestions were quite intriguing, like the guy who said, “Billy Graham, but if that’s not going to happen, maybe Gallagher.”
Now there’s a guy with wideranging tastes.
Here are some of the other suggestions:
Thomas Hampson and other local Spokane stars.
The Talking Heads (aren’t they defunct?).
Patrice Munsel, who opened the old Coliseum.
Also, I got dozens of calls nominating George Strait, because a radio station told people to call and vote for him.
And, of course, there were several votes for “anyone except Neil Diamond.” Nevertheless, the smart money is still on Diamond.
We almost got ‘em
Speaking of Pearl Jam, we came tantalizingly close to getting them at The Met again.
Met manager Michael Smith said the Pearl Jam people called a few months ago and asked if he could hold open some dates for a surprise Pearl Jam concert next week.
“I said, `Absolutely!”’ said Smith.
Unfortunately, they called back last week and said it wasn’t going to work out. Instead of Spokane, Pearl Jam will be doing a concert in Missoula on Feb. 8. It’s already sold out. It’s a warm-up concert for their world tour.
Those unfair ratings
After a local radio host spent a big chunk of air time Monday complaining about the injustice of my radio ratings item (a subject of endless fascination to his listeners, no doubt), I thought I should explain, once again, why I use the numbers I use.
I use the numbers that Arbitron, the ratings company, believes to be the broadest gauge of overall popularity. These are called the 12-plus share (measuring all listeners age 12 and over), and these are the only numbers that Arbitron releases to the press and general public. These numbers are fairest to all stations, as opposed to fairest to the stations that whine the most.
The only thing unfair about them is that not every station gets to be No. 1. Some stations have to be No. 8, even if it damages the self-esteem of radio personalities.
The adult audience
Some stations would prefer that I use, for instance, the 35-64 demographic group or the 25-54 demographic group. However, I have this quaint, non-target-marketing mentality that listeners under 25 and over 64 are just as important as other listeners. So that’s not what I (and Arbitron) use for the general rankings.
However, I admit it is interesting to look at the 25-54 numbers, since radio marketers feel this is a good gauge of the core adult listening audience. So here are the Arbitron rankings for the 25-54 demographic group, courtesy of KXLY (don’t tell Arbitron).
The Top Ten, by average rating, are:
I offer no comment on this. Each station can do their own spin control, which is an art form in itself. (For an example of newspaper spin control, see lead item of today’s column.)
Top talk hosts
In a December piece on talk radio, “The McNeil/Lehrer NewsHour” referred to KGA-AM’s Richard Clear as “the most popular talk show host in Spokane.” I wondered if this was true, except in his dreams.
So I got hold of the fall Arbitron numbers for talk show hosts, courtesy of Dave Zack of Z-Media. Here are the rankings, along with each one’s average number of listeners, 12 and over, during any quarter hour in a time period (“average quarter-hour persons”):
1. Pete Fretwell, KXLY-AM, 8,033 listeners during news-talk from 6-9 a.m., 6,300 listeners during his local talk segment from 9-10 a.m.
2. Mike Fitzsimmons, KXLY-AM, 4,233 listeners.
3. Richard Clear, KGA-AM, 3,666 listeners.
4. Todd Herman, KSBN-AM, 600 listeners.
I was not able to rank KXLY’s Jim Bickel or Alex Wood, because they switched time-slots in the middle of the ratings period.
For comparison, Rush Limbaugh on KGA-AM averages 7,333 listeners.
Remember, these are only talk show hosts. Some of the morning drive teams on the music stations do better, such as KKZX-FM’s morning show, with 9,200 listeners, and KDRK-FM’s morning show, with 8,400 listeners.
Marilyn is coming
A couple of weeks ago, we noted that columnist Molly Ivins will deliver a lecture at Gonzaga University on April 18.
Now, we hear that Marilyn Quayle, from the other end of the spectrum, will also be coming to Gonzaga. She will deliver a lecture on the subject of family values on April 12. Quayle, in case you can’t place her, is the woman who will be the next First Lady of the United States.
Watch for ticket information.