Nine Years

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And only a lonely heart knows
How the heartache, it grows and grows
Oh, how long does it take till the heartache goes?
Only a lonely, only a lonely heart knows
— Barbara Mandrell, Only A Lonely Heart Knows

What’s New in SCOOTER 6?

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With the release of the 6th version of SCOOTER, we’ve introduced a number of new features. This post will outline some of them, but you’ll need to download the new version to learn them all.

First of all, SCOOTER remains FREE in the “basic” version. If you haven’t purchased a license key for SCOOTER, you’ll be happy to know that downloading version 6 will give you 30 days of SCOOTER 6 Pro so you can try out the new features.

SCOOTER 6 is installed as a new, separate program from SCOOTER 5. This allows you to continue using SCOOTER 5 if, for some reason, you don’t prefer all the new stuff we’ve added. If you have SCOOTER 5 installed, SCOOTER 6 will ask if you would like to import all your clients, schedules, and settings from version 5 into version 6. We highly recommend this option. Also, if you have a license for SCOOTER 5, your version of SCOOTER 6 will be automatically registered. Easy peasy!

Okay, new features: SCOOTER 6 has a new scheduling grid that is lightning fast. This makes entering schedules even speedier. In SCOOTER Pro, the new grid allows you to block select a group of rows/columns and copy or delete the contents.

SCOOTER 6 features SCOOTER Mail, the program’s own email client. SCOOTER Mail uses your own email server, user name, and password and features “mail templates” so you can compose standard email messages to send with your attached schedules. The templates feature text substitution, so text that reads “schedule attached for <%CLIENT%>” is transformed to “schedule attached for Mason Chevrolet” (or whatever your particular client). You can create unlimited templates in SCOOTER Mail. And, if you are using a web-based account, such as GMail, Yahoo, HotMail, etc., you can send from that email address using the email account provided by your ISP. SCOOTER 6’s extensive help file explains this step-by-step.

And speaking of help, SCOOTER 6 features instant context sensitive help. Just position your mouse pointer over whatever you need more information on and press the F1 function key. Bingo! Help opens to that exact topic.

There’s more; a “floating” navigation tool bar, revised “Unit Class” options, improved printing options, an updated spell checker, improved email validation, and dozens of other little tweaks to make your sales life easier.

We hope you’ll enjoy SCOOTER 6, and thanks for your support and feedback. Happy selling!

SCOOTER 5.0.9.0 Update

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Version 5.0.9.0 of SCOOTER was released today, addressing two issues brought to our attention by users (just like you!).

The first was a problem with the sizing and centering of station logos when schedules were generated for previewing or emailing. Depending on the proportions of the logo, it was possible that the resulting sized image would appear slightly off-center or, in some cases, fail to appear on the page at all. We’ve revised the sizing code to be more intelligent and in testing with a variety of logo sizes and proportions this issue appears to be resolved.

The second issue addressed by this update is the use of email domains of more than three characters. Initially, the software would accept .com, .co and the like. But additions of domains such as .info and .asia would cause SCOOTER to complain that an apparently “invalid” email address had been entered. SCOOTER 5.0.9.0 fixes this issue.

This SCOOTER update will be rolled out over the next 10 days as — when you execute SCOOTER — it periodically checks for new versions. If you can’t wait, just open SCOOTER and from the main menu select Help -> Check for Program Update.

Taking A Dog Break

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Writing computer code is fun (if you’re a geek). But it’s also work.

When you bury yourself deep in the middle of functions and procedures, trying to solve a problem or find an elusive bug, the minutes and hours can slip away. But too much work without a meaningful break is not a good thing, long term.

Fortunately, I have a friend who drops by to encourage me to take that meaningful break.

His name is Chico.

He’s a chihuahua mix and, whenever he feels the time is right, he comes over to my chair and plants his paws on my thigh. Then, he give me this look that says: “Time to take a break, dude!”

How he knows I’m in need of that break is beyond me. But in less than 30 seconds, I’m on the floor with him while he growls and pretends to bite my hand. It’s a playful exchange that has developed over the years he’s been with me. And there’s no sign this routine is changing anytime soon.

As you’re chugging along at work, I hope you have your version of Chico — dog, feline, or human — to help you take a break and clear your head.

And maybe, keep your sanity.

That Other Foot

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Following Donald Trump’s election, half of the country has gone nuts. Or, perhaps they were already nuts and now it’s just more obvious.

The liberal/progressive/media have reacted as though their favored football team has lost the Super Bowl. And that reaction has included rioting on the field, screaming obscenities at officials, writing slanted and untrue news stories, and threatening to have the winning quarterback kicked out of the NFL.

I always wonder how such people would react if the situation were reversed; the “shoe was on the other foot”, as some say. If Hillary was president, would conservatives have rioted, smashed windows, burned cars, written negative and factually false articles, and screamed “not my president!”? Well, we know the answer to that. Barack Obama won two terms in the White House. He was a less than stellar president. People on the right did not like his policies. But he was the president, and even though conservatives didn’t always go along with him, they didn’t cry out to de-legitimize his presidency.

But now the liberal/progressive’s shoe is on the other foot. And for them — especially the media — it’s more than uncomfortable. It’s intolerable.

Interesting times.

Riding the Gravy Train

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Among the many sales people who worked at stations I managed over the years was one individual I’ll call “Bert”. As with some who gravitate to sales, Bert was quick with excuses when he failed to reach his sales goals. He gave every appearance of working diligently, but the big sales that were always “just around the corner” never managed to materialize.

One day, Bert was overheard being warned by a fellow sales rep that management wouldn’t continue to accept poor sales performance.

“Oh, I know they won’t keep me on much longer”, Bert replied, “but I’ll ride this gravy train until the tracks run out.”

Bert’s comment returns to me now and again, especially as our nation continues to blissfully ride the “gravy train” of reckless spending. Various talking heads in the media caution of the dangers should the United States fail to increase the debt limit. President Obama expresses doubt that Social Security checks will continue to be issued, and we might not even be able to pay the military. So we just have to extend the debt ceiling, which will let us continue borrowing money that we know we can never hope to repay.

Perhaps it has not occurred to these people what will happen should the United States dollar collapse and our currency become worthless. This could be because no one can envision such a catastrophe happening to a nation as prestigious and powerful as the U.S. I recall the people of Rome once felt that way, too.

A collapsed economy means every special interest group (and every organization vital to our existence as a nation) will be unfunded. Will the fire department continue to fight fires if the firefighters are not paid? Will the police continue to patrol our streets if their paychecks are not worth the paper they’re printed on? A collapsed economy means no Social Security checks…ever. And that’s just the beginning.

Ah…but it can’t happen here! After all, this is the United States we’re talking about!

So the politicians continue to increase the speed of the “gravy train”, adding another trillion dollars in new debt each year. We now approach the point where our debt will be in excess of 90% of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product. History shows that no nation — regardless of how prestigious and powerful — has survived financially beyond that point.

Yes, just as it did for Bert, the tracks will eventually run out, perhaps sooner than anyone suspects. While Bert was able to weather that event with a minimum amount of discomfort, I wonder if our nation will be as fortunate?

The Afterlife

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Several years ago, I discontinued my television service. Evaluating how little I watched TV and comparing it to the dollars it cost to sustain a service I used so little, the decision was easy. Now, I access the programs I prefer the day after they air via the web, and watch them on my schedule. All while pocketing the $70 per month I would have paid if I hadn’t boxed up my flatscreen.

While perusing the available fare on the network web sites, I noticed Rhonda Rousey was hosting Saturday Night Live this past weekend. Although I hadn’t watched SNL in decades, the appeal of Ms. Rousey overcame any hesitation. I switched to full screen on my 24-inch monitor and sat back to enjoy the show.

The first thing I noticed — following the unfunny opening skit — was the amazing number of cast members filling slots once occupied by comedic luminaries such as Belushi, Radner, Chase, and Murray. The cast members appeared to outnumber the live studio audience. It can only surmise NBC has opted for quantity to fill the gap left by an absence of talent.

Following the litany of unknown names that populated the opening, Ms. Rousey appeared in all her glory, looking very fit despite her recent professional setback. What followed was painful to watch. The dialog — one cannot refer to it as “comedic” — ranked alongside a prolonged visitation with members of the Spanish Inquisition. And I’m not speaking of the Monty Python version. The attempts at humor were both not funny and an embarrassment. The fact that alleged “writers” are paid to produce such drivel demonstrates how far our society has fallen.

So, I’m thinking it’s me. I just don’t “get” today’s humor. But then, I realized what SNL proffers is not humor. It’s something else entirely. It is the anti-humor. And yet the audience laughs mindlessly, which is on a par with the caliber of “jokes” provided by the program.

Watching last Saturday’s program — the 10 minutes I could withstand — I felt sad for SNL, NBC, and, most of all, the alumnae who once made Saturday Night Live what it was.

SNL is dead. The Saturday Night Zombie. It just doesn’t know it yet.

A New Hope

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It’s been a while since we woke up WordPress on the PC (this became obvious from the number of updates waiting for us), but it’s a new year and time for a new start.

At Radio3K.com, we’ve just emerged from a protracted period of programming (say that three times as fast as you can), and are now looking to do more with this long-dormant blog. But it’s the results of that programming binge we want to address for this post.

First, there’s an update for our ever-popular Broadcast Calendar Generator to version 5.2. In addition to a new interface that gives you a thumbnail view of the calendar style you’re selecting, we’ve actually added a new calendar format: the Planning calendar. The Planning calendar can be a great tool for, well, planning a long-term schedule with a client. By all means, take the link and check it out. Of course, the Broadcast Calendar Generator is free to download and use all the way through 9999. That’s assuming the Windows operating system will still be around then. We won’t be here to find out, unfortunately. Come to think of it, neither will you, so I guess that’s a moot point.

The other star on the horizon is a major update to SCOOTER, our schedule-building software. Moving up to version 5, with release targeted for first quarter of this year, SCOOTER has over 30 new features and enhancements. While the link covers most of them, it’s important to know that we’re adding new features to both the free and Pro versions. One such enhancement is unlimited undo/redo when working with ad schedules. We could list everything here, but the post would scroll down the monitor for quite a distance. So it’s better to click the link. Trust us.

One of the most requested features for SCOOTER has been the ability to export schedules to the station’s traffic system. This feature is not in the initial release of SCOOTER Pro 5, but we have not abandoned this goal. We plan to develop “export to traffic” as an addition to version 5, with a planned additional update later in 2016. A future post will address the issues involved in adding this capability to the program.

Thanks for being patient, and we promise to not let any more dust gather on WordPress.

Radio — R.I.P.?

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Recently, I heard someone who controls a very sizable media budget declare: “Radio is a dead medium!” He has moved all his ad dollars to other avenues…Radio gets $0. Period.

Is Radio dead?

Since leaving my management position in Radio a number of years ago, I must confess my Radio listening has declined dramatically. From listening almost constantly, I now listen to Radio…not at all. This was initially shocking to me — someone who was steeped in the magic of Radio since I was a pre-teen now moving into the ranks of a non-listener.

Inquiring of friends who are not in the industry elicits much the same response: little to no listening to Radio. Has Radio lost much of its audience? Could be.

What I know for certain is Radio people don’t use the medium the way “average” listeners do. And that could be the reason a growing number of people have abandoned Radio.

Don’t get me wrong. I still love Radio. It’s just that Radio is no longer the center of my life. I’ve become “normal”, and that could be the key.

It would be ideal if everyone working in Radio was able to take a year off. Get away from the day-to-day grind and start listening like a “regular” listener. I suspect the revelation would be profound. And the result could be a re-invigoration of Radio that would boost the medium far into the new century.

I ask again: is Radio dead?

The problem with being dead is that you don’t know you are. I hope Radio is not in that situation. But ultimately it depends on the listeners. And if they’ve decided Radio is no longer vital to their everyday lives, the medium I’ve loved for over a half century is in real trouble.

The Final AM Sign Off?

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The most recent buzz about AM Radio isn’t encouraging. Many have written off the band as consumers increasingly turn to FM and digital for entertainment.

So where is the surprise? Technologies advance, consumer preferences change, and time marches on.

If, like me, you’re old enough to remember the “golden age” of rock and roll, AM Radio was the medium everyone wanted. AM Radio launched Elvis, Jerry Lee, The Beatles, and countless others. Legendary stations such as WABC, WLS, KHJ, and KCBQ — to name but a few — brought music to millions of teens now into their senior citizen years. The memories are irreplaceable, but unfortunately the medium that delivered all this magic is not.

Again, where is the surprise? The AM generation moved from vinyl to cassette tape to CD’s and now streaming digital. The delivery method has changed, but the concept remains the same.

The truly sad part is the magic that made it all so special is gone. The terrific radio stations with personalities who drew millions have diminished to the point that most listeners can’t identify anyone past morning drive. For those of us who spent time DXing AM stations from hundreds of miles away, those evening jocks made the AM band sparkle like nothing ever heard on FM, let alone digital. It’s a world forever lost to those who have never experienced it.

So let AM slide quietly into oblivion. It was wonderful while it lasted. And if you lived it, the magic you experienced is a part of you that will never fade away.