From the MCRFB news archive: 1959
Newest Distrib-Paid LP Spin Plan Spark Solid Local Dealer Aids
WKMH Radio logo circa 1959-1960
DETROIT — A new trend is evincing itself in the broadcast field, which — if adopted on a national scale — could conceivably lessen the evils of deejay payola. It’s the official pay-for-play plan, whereby stations sell record distributors time to spin and plug a specific recorded disk.
Pay-for-plays programs of various types have been conducted successfully by such key stations as WITH, Baltimore and KDAY, Los Angeles, with considerable success, and one of the most elaborate pay-for-spins operations is currently shaping up in Detroit, where station WJBK has been conducting a “Sound Special” promotion on singles (offering one play per-hour per week for $300.00) for the past few months, and now WKMH is preparing a similar promotion showcase for albums.
Album Of The Week
The WKMH promotion, tagged “Album Of The Week,” guarantees distributors 114 plays per week at a cost of $350 per week for six weeks. The plan will be set up with eight local disk distributors on a rotating basis, covering a period of 48 weeks. Each distributor will have one of his albums featured every eight weeks. Distributor must purchase the plan for the entire 48-week period.
Choice of album featured each week will be left to the distributors. However, L.P.’s must “meet the requirements of WKMH’s ‘Good Music Policy’.”
Each “Album Of The Week” will receive one play per hour from 6 a.m. to 1 a.m. (excluding Dick Buller’s show) for a total of 18 plays per day Monday through Saturday. On Sundays the LP will receive six plays for a guaranteed weekly total of 114 spins by WKMH deejays.
Each time a selection from the featured LP is played, the WKMH jocks will recommend the album and give the name and the address of a record shop where the LP may be purchased. A list of recommended record shops will be submitted to the station by each participating record distributor and these names will be featured on the air on a rotating basis.
In addition to the 114 plays per week, dee-jay program director Robin Seymour will spotlight two best-selling albums of each participating distributor during his Saturday afternoon program and will “pitch” each best-selling album he plays.
Build For Dealers
The plan is designed to help distributors cement dealer relationships, since each record store (recommended by a distributor) will be mentioned at least once each week on WKMH. The station, which is paying all costs for the rack-displays, notes that they “can be taken out of any record shop that does not co-operate with the participating record distributors.”
Each week, WKMH’s deejays will appear at a different record shop (designated by a participating distributor) in Detroit to visit with customers, sign autographs and “promote the sales of albums and records.”
At the same time, WKMH will mail to the list of recommended record shops a list of the top 10 albums of each participating distributor. The station will also inform the recommended record shops a week in advance about forthcoming “Album of the Week” selections, so that the dealers will have it in stock and on display.
Although by its own definition the fee is a hefty one, a record shop where the LP is mentioned (“better than $2 dollars a play” according to one record manufacturer’s estimation), more than 90 per cent of Detroit’s disk distributors reportedly have agreed to go along with the WKMH promotion.
Leo Cheslak, of Cadet Distributors, for instance, opines that the plan sounds like a feasible one for building local album sales, on the basis of his experiences with the WJBK singles promotion. Under the WJBK plan, which Cheslak terms a successful sales-builder, distributors pays $300 per week to have a single record played every hour for one week. The featured disks are also made available at the special price of 75 cents by recommended dealer stores during the promotion week. END.
WKMH’s Robin Seymour, as he appeared in 1956. By 1959 Seymour was the appointed PD for the station, having held that position for a number of years. (Photo courtesy of MCRFB senior contributor Greg Innis)
(Information and news source: Billboard; February 2, 1959).