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Tuesday, September 26, 2006

All Hail Scott Walterman (huzzah! huzzah!) 

Sonovista, my friends... by permission of Tony Zinman, here is an email he received from Scott Walterman:

Subject: RE: Countdown and Hardball
Date: Tue, 26 Sep 2006 10:06:54 -0400
From: "Walterman, Scott"
To: "Anthony Zinman"

Thanks for your email. I am actually trying to find a place for Countdown and Hardball on the schedule. I don't know if I'll be sucessful, but I've been given the green light to try by my boss.

Scott Walterman
director of third party news programming
XM Satellite Radio


i know i've previously said that i don't think we should stoop to bribes, but Kudos (or maybe a Snickers) to Scott probably would be in order... i know what its like to swim upstream and the frequent shouts of "you go girl!" or "right on, robin!" or "last call for alcohol!" do much to revive the spirit, and i would guess that at least one of these three examples would work for Scott, too!

scott can be reached here:
Scott.Walterman@xmradio.com

more news as it develops... we now return you to soul-crushing despair, already in progress...

namaste
robin

Friday, September 22, 2006

L'Shana Tova to all our Jewish Friends at XM and MSNBC 

like... uh... um... damn... i can't think of a single schwartz-o-witz-en-stein-mc-berg on either side... who says jews control the media? (well, a lot of antisemetic wackos, i guess)

tomorrow, 9/23, is the first day of Fall (the Autumnal Equinox), the jewish new year of 5767, and the birthday of bruce springsteen, ray charles, john coltrane and me... and what do i want for my birthday?

MSNBC on XM
(and a pony)

and it looks like i may just be getting what i want... i hear they're backing up a horse trailer even as i type... man... i love the smell of oats in the morning... it smells like... well, like oats, frankly, but oaty smelling oats is some kind of victory, no?

on the other hand, all is quiet on the XM front... there is a clear lesson that if you stay silent after an unpopular decision, you can generally ride it out... there may be consequences in the long run, but in the short run there won't be any blame or accountability... for example, i know that if you call XM and tell them that you're going to cancel your service because they dropped MSNBC they will give you 3 free months... don't believe me? go and try it... that's $36 they're giving every subscriber who isn't happy... assuming we have 1000 subscribers who call (about the number on the petition) that's a give-away of $36,000 with no guarantee that you'll keep the subscriber... if every signature on the petition represents 10 subscribers (not unreasonable) that's $360,000 they're willing to give away to keep the peace... does that make sense? to give away more than a quarter of a million dollars? how much did MSNBC cost them to carry?

anyway, according to one person who contacted XM, there is someone who is interested in keeping some of the MSNBC programming... according to Maureen:


Date: Fri, 15 Sep 2006 21:54:54 EDT
Subject: Response from XM
To: robin@savemsnbconxm.com

Hi, and my sincere thanks for taking the initiative to try to save MSNBC on XM!

I'd signed your petition, and made several phone calls to XM, then pretty much gave up and was prepared to unsubscribe from XM.

But this afternoon, I was extremely -- and pleasantly -- surprised to receive a call from XM's Scott Walterman (SP?).

We spoke at length, and he said he is trying to persuade his boss to at least keep Countdown and Hardball on XM. Meanwhile, he's endeavoring to find "a place" (channel) for those two shows.

He also explained that MSNBC garnered very few listeners, relatively, and, to paraphrase, didn't earn its keep. (Seems they have 'X' amount of channels, and must allocate them according to audience demand.)

He seemed sincere about trying to find a place for Olbermann and Matthews -- let's just hope it happens!

Again, thanks for picking up the ball and running with it.

-Maureen
Fort Lauderdale


well, it turns out that scott is responsible for 'News" programming at XM, so i sent him an email (and one to hugh panero as well) asking them who the best person would be to focus our efforts so that we don't simply keep bombarding the entire XM staff... if someone is collecting stats, we're better off concentrating on that person... and you know what scott and hugh said?

dunno... still waiting for any kind of a response...

you can try yourself, though!

the addresses are:

scott.walterman@xmradio.com

and feel free to see if hugh will respond to you... you're a subscriber, this is a business:

hugh.panero@xmradio.com

and that's it! i'll be shutting down the petition shortly... i still have to manually accept every signature and at this point i think XM gets the message and simply doesn't care... i'll leave the blog open for a while, though, as a place for folks to publish any new information... in the meanwhile i wish each and every one of you a very happy Yom Tov and a sweet new year... i've gotta run... i've got some pony shit i've got to clean up!

namaste
robin

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

800 Signatures and a Call from Kevin Straley 

Sonovista, my friends! Well, a few hours ago we broke through the 800 signature mark (802 as I type this entry). A Mr. Tommy Saunders of Fort Lee, New Jersey, who wrote, "Dear, Rosanne Rosannadanna..."

No, that's not right... But congratulations to all of us... It's hard to say that it's "working" because the goal of this exercise is the return of MSNBC to XM, and right now I'm watching ol' KeiBo on the tube instead of listening to him no my XM radio while driving to the hospital to help a patient of mine deliver a baby... We all have to set our priorities...

But I did get a call this afternoon from The Reverand Dr. Kevin Straley, QC, MP, VP of Talk/News Programming at XM... A summary of our conversation can be drawn as follows:

1. People are calling and are passionate and articulate.
2. XM is out of space and have added new channels and something had to go.
3. The calls and letters and petition have raised awareness and Kevin admitted that 800 signatures was a "good number".
4. XM has no plans to restore the channel in the next week or month, but is looking and listening.

In other words, a nice 8 minute conversation where nothing substantive happened and no changes were made.

Good Times!

Kevin did say that XM has brought two things back before, Liquid Metal and the Dave Ramsey show. I suggested that MSNBC had an even stronger case to be brought back since (a) it couldn't be streamed on XM's site (like LM was) and (b) Dave Ramsey is syndicated and can be heard elsewhere, unlike MSNBC which was an XM exclusive.

In any event, here's what I took away (just my impressions)... XM did not expect the vocal opposition they've been receiving and would consider bringing MSNBC back if they could be convinced that folks would trade MSNBC for "E!" or something else (a zero-sum game)... But a new contract with MSNBC would have to be put in place for this to happen (he also said it was a matter of "t-t-t-timing", which is why, I assume, the channel was pulled on the first Monday of September).

So, we need to keep up the pressure on XM to let them know we -still- want them to reverse their decision. Call Kevin (202-380-4378) if you haven't done so, and let him hear from you directly. Also, keep sending email to XM, including their "brass" (see addresses in posts below)... Kevin didn't make this decision by himself.

Also I think we need to put pressure on MSNBC (I could be wrong, and haven't seen the contract, but there may be some flexibility in how MSNBC gets programmed that they weren't willing to give up.) I'll get the right folks at MSNBC and post their names and addresses here for you to write to.

And that's it... As I would have told that patient in labour, "Keep Pushing"!!!

more later
cheers!
robin

Thursday, September 07, 2006

quick request if you're a Daily Kos subscriber... 

Susan S is a blogger at Daily Kos and was responsible for the posts that gave broad publicity to the petition. (thanks susan!) Susan has asked that if you're a Daily Kos subscriber that you go to this link http://www.dailykos.com/story/2006/9/7/03427/44344 and "recommend" it (i think you click on the "Recommend" button in the right-hand column) to keep it on the front page.

out of sight, out of mind, and all that...

cheers!
robin

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

One-Time Email / Open Thread 

Sonovista, my friends... today we sent out a one-time email to everyone who has signed the petition on petitionspot.com... because of the way petitionspot.com works, after the petition was created it wasn't possible to modify the information to give folks an update on where things are and what we can do next, so i sent an email to let folks know about this site...

The rest of this entry is an open thread... if you have comments/suggestions/etc feel free to post them in the comments at the end.

I feel hopeful about this... can you feel it? I feel it...

robin

(update... this is a comment from a posting below... since i'm not sure everyone knows how to get to the comments on blogger (i know that i didn't!) i'm putting it here for all to see... thanks for making the call, ben, and thanks for the info... polite and firm sounds like a good strategy:)

I just got a call back from Kevin Straley!

I used the contacts on this blog to call and email Mr. Straley, as well as email all the other execs a bit further down this page. Mr. Straley called me back (I left my home number and invited him to call me if he wanted to talk) within 30 minutes. We talked for about 10 min. The yada yada is that they do not have plans to bring MSNBC back, but if they had a groundswell, they would, so GET ON THE PHONE TO KEVIN STRALEY AT XM!!! BE POLITE AND TELL HIM MSNBC IS A MAINSTAY OF YOURS ON XM!!

People To Contact! -UPDATED- 

Please spread this information far and wide:

According to two folks who have signed the petition, XM is hearing a -lot- about their decision to remove MSNBC, which they're finding surprising.

We are recommending that you phone both of the following numbers and -respectfully- tell them that you are a loyal XM subscriber and MSNBC listener and that pulling Channel 130, especially at this time, is a mistake and you want the station back.

1. Kevin Straley, Vice President for Talk Programming
202-380-4378 phone
202-380-4633 fax
kevin.straley@xmradio.com

2. XM Customer Care (which is different than the 202 number we've presented before)
1-800-XM-RADIO (800-967-2346)
say "no"
say "something else"
say "none of those"

have radio id ready

3. Go to http://www.xmradio.com/contact_us/contact_us.jsp

and leave a comment (again you'll need to have your radio id and acct number)... don't select XM News Channels Questions and Comments, but Programs Shows or Misc or General Comments (we're not sure which is best)

Please do this today! (we're at 642)
cheers
robin

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

p.s. 

we're now at 575 (lol!)

no... that's not the p.s.

a number of folks have asked about Schnauzer Logic... i'm a past/present/future talk-radio host (most recently on AM1080-KSCO in Santa Cruz, CA), and stand-up comedian and my former on-air buddies and i get together once a week to create a 2-hour podcast that's comedy/talk/news/music/interviews and a lot of random silliness... it has the feel of a "morning show", but the language can get PG-13... we do this from a professional studio, so it sounds like radio (which it kinda is)... and during the past few shows we've been talking about the efforts to Save MSNBC on XM and the exchanges i've had with the media... check it out if you like "silly/stupid mixed in with post-modern deconstructed philosophy"

shameless plug -done-
seacrest -out-
(lance bass and mr. sulu, -out-, too)

(timing is everything) 

quick interesting observation (since this blog is suppose to contain my 'reflections')... on friday 9/1, the last business day before pulling the MSNBC plug, 16 people signed the petition, and we reached 489 signatures... today, the first business day since the programming change, 45 people have already signed the petition,for a total of 572, and its only 10:45am here on the west coast... i wonder what changed? is it a case of people generally not doing something until there's a 'crisis' (in this case, a tiny crisis where the station they were looking for was gone?)... or has there been some kind of increased publicity (not that i can tell from a Google search, though that's admittedly an underpowered research tool)... in other words, why didn't we reach 572 (ok... now its 573) signatures on friday?

second quick observation... on a couple of the XM Fan sites (don't you love fan sites for corporations?) its been suggested that with MSNBC falling behind Fox and CNN in the "ratings" it was natural for XM to pull them... first, cable viewership ratings don't/can't compare to listenership ratings... the two models are very different... for example i watch a fair amount of "E" on cable, but never listen to it on XM... the way i consume the content depends on the medium... look at music on television... its all but gone from MTV, but available in ever increasing variety on XM... and second, satellite radio is a 'subscription' service... and if a desirable demographic of listeners say they want a particular channel then you should be able to sell that demographic to advertisers regardless of the "ratings"... these folks are 'pre-qualified', in sales terms...

it all still seems pretty fishy to me, but what do i know? (grin)... oh, 574 just came through...

cheers!
robin

Monday, September 04, 2006

It Ain't Over 'Til It's Over... 

Sonovista, my friends! And a happy Labor Day (USA) to everyone viewing this site for the first time. The folks at Radio Daily News have kindly posted the email to me from Jeremy Gaines, VP of Communications at MSNBC (see in an earlier post below) and have provided a link to our site.

So here's the update: As of midnight MSNBC is no longer on XM... If you tune to Channel 130 you'll hear an audio billboard informing you of programming changes (but not inviting comments.) We can assume that this billboard will run for a week or so, and then be gone (amazingly enough the Channel Lineup Card still lists MSNBC... which is strange since the new XM Sports Nation on CH143 is on the card... so you wonder why they weren't able to plan for the removal of MSNBC at the same time?)

In any event, while a number of folks at MSNBC have contacted me (many 'not-for-publication'), the silence from XM has been deafening. But that doesn't mean they aren't paying attention (or that Sirius and other broadcast outlets aren't watching this all play out with interest.)

So here's what we recommend:

1. Sign the petition if you haven't already done so by clicking on the link at the top of this page. And if you have a moment, read some the comments of other signers (what an intelligent and articulate group of folks... and very good looking, too!)

2. Keep Calling XM @ 202-380-4094 (if you're a subscriber) and tell them you want them to bring back MSNBC (hell, they won't even have to reprint the Channel Lineup Card!)

3. Send a letter or email to the decision makers at XM:
Hugh Panero, Chief Executive Officer - hugh.panero@xmradio.com
Nate Davis, President and Chief Operating Officer - nate.davis@xmradio.com
Gary Parsons, Chairman of the Board - gary.parsons@xmradio.com
Eric Logan, Executive Vice President, Programming - eric.logan@xmradio.com

XM Satellite Radio
1500 Eckington Place, NE
Washington, DC 20002
866-962-2557 tel
202-380-4500 fax

4. Keep making 'noise' about this... contact Sirius and let them know they have an opportunity to grab a block of subscribers... contact MSNBC and give them the ammo to negotiate with terrestrial broadcasters... contact Oprah and ask for her help (she seems to have some 'juice' at XM)

5. Share your ideas in the comments section of this post.

And that's it for now... Don't be disheartened... Remember "New Coke"?

cheers
robin diane goldstein

Friday, September 01, 2006

Official Word from MSNBC on Who Pulled the Plug 

even with all the silliness, i've been working behind the scenes to try and get some understanding of the "real" reason MSNBC is being pulled, and try to hold XM's feet to the fire... below is an email i received this morning from Jeremy Gains, VP Communications, in response to a note i sent to MSNBC:


Delivered-To: robin@savemsnbconxm.com
From: "Gaines, Jeremy (NBC Universal, MSNBC)"
To: 'Robin Diane Goldstein'
Subject: RE: "LD" suggested i send you a brief note...
Date: Fri, 1 Sep 2006 14:10:00 -0400

I just wanted to write back to you to thank you for your support of MSNBC. Rest assured, that despite what you may have been told this was a programming decision by XM, not us. When and if we get more distribution on radio, we'll let you know.


see... (grin)

cheers
robin

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