High Definition TV - Watching Standard Def on High-Def

Here's one that has been buggin' me: When watching my old 19-inch standard-def TV set, I can easily see the horizontal scan lines if I get close enough to the screen.  However, when watching my newer 29-inch High-Def set, if the program is in hi-def, it\s very difficult to see the scan lines.


So, why is it that, when watching an old Low-Def show on the High-Def set, I can't see the lines? -  Geno


Geno: Nice to hear from you again.  Here's your answer . . .


The answer to your question is in your question—it relates to the number of lines.  The old TV standard in the United States was 525 lines on a screen.  High-Definition (HDTV) uses up to 1,080 lines or more, but the lines are composed of small "dots" or pixels, so the clarity is much better.  A second reason for better clarity is that the 525-line system is analog—HDTV signals are digital and, therefore, are much "cleaner," which makes it difficult to see lines on your screen.


So, the reason you can't see lines on your HDTV when watching anything is that the signal is much better and the lines consists of pixels.  If you want more information, check out these two references: HDTV1 and HDTV2especially the section titled "Technical Details."

High Definition TV - Watching Standard Def on High-Def - Comment

Doc: I'm not sure if I made the original question clear (or high rez) enough.  Those old shows from the 60s and 70s were recorded on videotape that was limited to 525 lines of resolution.  When watching the old shows on HD, wouldn't you expect to see the lines even more clearly than you would on an old analog set?  Thanks again! - Geno


Geno: From what I know about TV broadcasts, the old shows from earlier years were recorded on film, not videotape.  However, even if videotape was used, all of that stuff has been converted to digital—it is not broadcast from videotape.  So, while you may be watching an old TV show, you aren't watching the show on its original format.


I think you might find some good information in this article.

High School Format Change

I just signed up with All Access and just started to read your column. It is a great place to get ideas and answer questions. I work for a high school radio station where I am the assistant station manager. Our staff (high school students) is trying to get management (me) to switch our format. Right now, we’re playing Independent Rock (Alternative). However, we have a wide range of specialty shows and try to serve the community. I was wondering if you know what type of format would be the best in our area? We are located 20 minutes east of Detroit, in Plymouth, Michigan. Our staff wants to switch to mainstream Alternative. A few others, including me, say that keeping our Independent feel gives us an edge over Detroit radio stations. However, the students say that changing to Alternative would gain listeners, and all their friends would actually listen. Although I would tend to think that more kids would listen to major market radio stations, where they can win free stuff. Our community has about 100,000 people. Thanks for your time. - Anonymous


Anon: While you’re talking about a high school radio station, there is no reason why you shouldn’t follow the procedures used by the "big-time" commercial radio stations.


You said you are new to this column, which means that you haven’t seen the hundreds of times I have answered questions by telling people that they must ask their listeners. This is the same in your situation. You don’t know which format is best; your staff doesn’t know which format is best; and the friends of your staff don’t know which format is best. The people who listen (or may listen) to your radio station are the only people who know which format is best for your radio station. So ask them.


Now don’t think is impossible. It isn’t. I have worked with high school radio stations before and know that you can follow the same procedures that most commercial radio stations follow. Talk to a few teachers in your school who can help you design a survey and get the radio station staff involved. You’ll have enough interviewers to get several hundred completed surveys. The only thing I can’t comment on is the sample you need to interview. It may consist only of high school age students, or it may include older people. You must decide that. Regardless, this project will be a great experience for all of you—and you’ll be following the basic 3-step plan for success: Find out what people want, give it to them, and then tell them that you gave it to them. Trust me, it will work.


It doesn’t matter what I think or what I know about the format options open in or around Plymouth, Michigan. This information must come from the students and/or non-students in Plymouth.


Finally, you said that "more kids would listen to major market radio stations, where they can win free stuff." don't assume that. People do not listen to radio stations only for contests. In fact, there isn’t any scientific evidence to verify that contests have a positive affect on listening. So, don’t worry about the radio stations in Detroit and their "free" stuff. Worry about what you can offer the listeners in Plymouth. Do something unique with the information you find. Develop a format (based on your survey) that is compelling, interesting, entertaining, and unique. That will get the audience you’re looking for.


I want to emphasize one point: Do not program your radio station according to what you or your staff wants. You aren’t objective and you don’t know what the people in your city want to hear.

High-Speed Internet

Yo, Doc.  I have a question for ya.  You seem to be a pretty Internet-savvy dude.  I live in an area where I can get a cable modem and DSL.  Which one do you recommend/prefer?  Which is faster?  More stable/reliable?  Cheaper?  I appreciate your help and happy belated new year.  And, woo hoo to Denver!  Our new mix show comes from Denver, from ZeoMix—and you live there, so it must be a cool city, yo. - Anonymous


Anon:  Yo to you too.  I’m sure that my presence in the Denver area does not affect how cool the place is, but thanks anyway.


In reference to your cable/DSL question, I think you’ll find that it’s similar to the Mac/PC argument—people like one and dislike the other.  I have cable and have never had a problem with it.  One of the main criticisms about cable is that it slows down if there are several people in your area on the system.  I don’t have that problem.


The best thing for you to do is read a few detailed reviews of both systems.  One good source is on CNet—just click here….Cable/DSL.

Hip-Hop Song List

Dear Doc: Where can I get a chronological list of hip hop songs due to the dates they were hits or released.  Thanks. - Anonymous


Anon:  I can’t find a specific site to answer your question, but there are many places that might help you.  I set up five searches on Google for you that should narrow things down.  Hip-Hop 1, Hip-Hop 2, Hip-Hop 3, Hip-Hop 4, and Hip-Hop 5

Hiring Air Talent

What do you think are the most important points that PDs should look for when interviewing new air talent? - Anonymous

Anon: The list I include below is developed from what listeners say about on-air personalities as well as a few that relate to the operating philosophy of the radio station. The items aren’t listed in order of importance. In addition, I know that each PD will have his or her own unique requirements. This list is not carved in stone.

Radio personalities are salespeople for the radio station. They are the conduits between the listeners and the radio station and they are essential in converting cume to TSL. (Marketing brings listeners to the station; personalities help keep them there.)

Important things to look for include, but are not limited to:

I have discussed the 5 Stages of Persuasion in other AllAccess columns.

Hire My Brother?

I’m a PD at a CHR radio station. I’m considering hiring my brother for an air shift. What do you think? – Anonymous

Anon: Your question is rather broad, but I’ll see what I can do.

First, is your brother qualified for the position or are you considering hiring him only because he’s your brother? If it’s the later, then don’t do it.

Second, does your company have any rules about hiring relatives? You need to check on this.

Third, if your brother is truly qualified and your company does not have a rule about hiring relatives, then you might consider pulling yourself out of the hiring process. Talk to your GM and have him/her set up a committee to review your brother’s case. If the committee decides to hire him, this should help eliminate any complaints of nepotism. In addition, your brother is going to have to accept that you are his boss and what you say is final.

By the way, if you pull yourself out of the process, you’ll have to accept the committee’s decision. If they say "no," it’s no. Case closed.


I'm a 4-year swing jock looking for a full-time job on the air. The book is going to begin in a couple days. What kind of practices do stations follow while under the book? Will a station in need hire during the book or will they wait until it concludes in June? Also, what type of jock will they be looking for during such a critical time? Will they seek out somebody more established or will they take a chance on a young jock? I need guidance. I think I'll be wasting my hard earned part time dollars on shipping out tapes and resumes if stations won't even bother with a young guy like me during the book. - Anonymous

Anon: First, let me try to set something straight. You ask whether radio station management will make decisions during the book, or as you say "during such a critical time." The critical time in radio does not relate only to a ratings period. Every day in radio is critical. For some reason, many radio station decision-makers attribute a great deal of importance to "when the book starts" or "when the book is in progress." These people make the incorrect assumption that radio listeners only make decisions to listen (or not listen) the day a book starts, or while a book is in progress.

Nothing could be farther from the truth. Radio listeners make decisions about listening every hour of every day of the year. I have tried for years to understand why people say, for example, that they need their music tested before the book starts so they can get the music "right." Why isn’t the music "right" all the time? Does that mean the playlist sucks when a book isn’t in progress? The practice of conducting radio research to coincide with the start of an Arbitron ratings period makes no sense in reference to the behavior of radio listeners.

Now, let’s get to your eagerness to move on in the industry. The absolute worst thing I can tell you is to keep plugging away with your resumes and tapes. But that’s what I’m going to say. If you are a talented person who has the determination to make it, you will do just that. Continue to contact PDs around the country. You know that you exist, and it’s your job to get them to know you. Generally speaking, they won’t come to you.

You can do that only through constant contact. While PDs are generally very busy, my experience is that they are always looking for new talent—regardless of whether they are in a ratings period or not. Don’t give up. Remember the adage: "The squeaky wheel gets the grease." Keep squeaking.


Last night, in McCain's concession speech, he said, ". . . an historic election . . ."  I have heard the same thing in other speeches too.  I always thought that when the word started with a consonant, it's correct to use "a" and use "an" for words that start with vowels.  Have I been wrong all this time, or are there exceptions to the rule? - Anonymous


Anon: No, you haven't been wrong.  The rules for "a" and "an" with the word historic have just become flexible, that's all.


In the United States, the correct English is to use a with historic, because the consonant, "h," is pronounced (aspirated)—his-toric.  However, in Britain, the word, historic, is pronounced "istoric."  The folks there don't say (aspirate) the letter "h."  Because they don't pronounce the "h," they use "an" before historic because the letter "i" is pronounced as the first letter of the word—"an istoric event."


The general rule of whether or not to use "a" or "an" before "H" depends on if the "H" is aspirated.  The "H" in "historic" should always be pronounced, unlike the "H" in "honor."  For that reason, the "a" before "historic" is correct, at least in American usage.  ("A historic" is not considered proper American English, although I don't think most people know/hear the difference.) 


The word "an" should be used before any word beginning with the letter "H" only if the "H" is not pronounced (silent/not aspirated), such as "an honest effort," "an heir to the money," "an honorable person."  Therefore, it's proper to use "a" before "historic" unless there is some reason to want to try to sound British.

Hit Songs

Can you determine whether a new release will become a smash hit just by listening to it? Thanks for the time. - Anonymous


Anon: Are you asking me if I can determine a hit song or if others can determine a hit song? If you’re asking if I can determine a hit song, the answer is no. I learned many years ago that I’m not good at predicting what other people think or how they will behave.


Now…if you’re asking whether new songs can be tested to predict potential success (within a statistical margin of error), the answer is yes. However, a lot of attention must be given to the sample used for the test and the measurement instrument used to rate the song(s).

Holiday Lights

Doc:  Have you heard that Miller Lite has a commercial that uses the light display from the house in Ohio?  Is that on the Internet? - Anonymous


Anon:  Yes, I heard that and the video and commercial are all over the Internet.  Here are two sources: Video and the Miller Lite Commercial.

Holiday Lights 2/Al Hirt

Hey Doc:  Have you seen the "Flight of the Christmas Tree" lights on the Internet?  If you haven't seen it, check it out.  I think you'll find it amusing.  - Ray

Ray: Yes, my brother sent me the link and I watched it.  It's great, and for those who haven't seen it, click here.


When I saw the video, it reminded me of something else—a song by the famous trumpet player, Al Hirt, called  "The Carnival of Venice."  (Al Hirt died in 1999.)  I remember seeing him play this song live on the "Ed Sullivan Show" when I was in high school (I think).  I don't know if you like the trumpet, but it's amazing what Hirt does in this song.  It sounds as though there are two or three trumpets playing, but he does it all.


To hear the Carnival of Venice, click here.  If that doesn't work for you, then go to this website and click on Carnival of Venice under the Audio Clips at the right of the screen.

Hollow Point Bullets

Doc:  On a TV show the other day, I heard a character say that he had "jacketed hollow point bullets" in his gun.  I don't know if this question is appropriate for your column, but do you know what term means? - Dan


Dan:  While there are some topics that are inappropriate for this column (since many young people read it), I don't see anything wrong with your question.  I think the best way to answer your question is to refer you to this explanation on Wikipedia.  Let me know if you have any other questions after you read the article.

Home Run Bat Speed

I’m a baseball fan and I’m watching the World Series.  Barry Bonds just hit another home run and I thought of a question.  Do you know how fast a hitter needs to swing a bat in order to hit a home run? - Anonymous


Anon:  Interesting question since club speed is frequently discussed in golf.  I didn’t know the complete answer to your question, but I do know that bat speed isn’t the only variable.  I searched the Internet and found a cool website that explains the home run hitting process via a Shockwave demonstration.  You can adjust the type of pitch, the speed of the pitch, bat speed, and angle of the ball.  This demonstration should help answer your question.


I’m not easily impressed and I’m not a baseball fan, but this demonstration is impressive.  To go there, just click here Home Run.

Home Size

Doc:  Quick question.  Do you know the average size of a home in the United States? - Anonymous


Anon:  Quick answer: 2,349 square feet (2004 data).  If you need more information, click here.

Horizontal and Vertical Promoting

Hi Doc!  Love the column.  I am looking for a "refresher course" on Vertical and Horizontal Promoting related to AM Drive.  The definition, examples, and any recommended websites/books you would suggest that deal with this in greater detail.  Thanks so much for your time.  Keep up the GREAT work! - Anonymous


Anon:  I'm glad you enjoy the column.  Thanks.  I will try to keep up the "great work."  On to your question . . .


Here are a few "refresher" things for you . . .


First, you're referring to a concept known as "Horizontal and Vertical Recycling," and I answered a question about recycling a while ago.  It's included in the Research Doctor Archive—look at the top of the page for the question titled, "Recycling—Horizontal and Vertical."


Second, Arbitron's Programmer's Package has two reports to help with recycling:


Report M: Recycling by Daypart.  This report answers the question of "vertical recycling," which is where a station endeavors to get listeners to also listen to the station's other dayparts within a given day.


Report N: Total Day-by-Day Listening.  This report relates to "horizontal recycling."  That is, it enables a program director to determine what percent of those who listen to the station for one day go on to listen to it a second day, and a third, a fourth, a fifth, a sixth and a seventh.


Third, if that's not enough for you, here is a search that includes some good articles and sources for more information.

Horror Movies

With all the buzz about the remake of “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” I realize there is something I’m not sure about two particular horror films.


First, “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.”  It’s my understanding that this movie was loosely based on serial killer Ed Gein, but I’ve also heard that the events that take place in this movie truly transpired.  They were told to the police by one of the victims who escaped.  However, no evidence was found to substantiate the claim.  What’s the truth?


Secondly, the “Blair Witch Project.”  While I know that this was staged, and nobody really found a camcorder under a century old structure, I do wonder if there is a legend of a Blair Witch.  Since then, many stories have emerged, and many of them don’t match.  What’s the truth on this one? - Anonymous


Anon:  Here’s the information you’re dying to have…


Chainsaw:  Although there are hundreds of articles and discussions about this movie, and how it was supposed to be based on Ed Gein, I can’t find specific information to back up those claims.  In addition, in an interview with Tobe Hooper, the director of the movie, he does not refer to any relation to Ed Gein.


Here is some additional information for you: Tobe Hooper Interview ... The Original Movie ... The 2003 Remake ... Ed Gein


Blair Witch:  There is no truth to the legend, but so I don’t have to reinvent the information wheel, click here for a great summary on Snopes.com - Just another movie.

Horses and Beer

Why do beer companies find it necessary to put horses in their commercials? I gots ta know. - Matt


Matt:  Since you “gots ta know,” I did a little investigation, and this is what I found…


Although another beer company may have been first to use a horse (or horses) as a trademark, mascot, or symbol, the “beer-horse association” credit is often given to Anheuser-Busch.  Why?  Because the Anheuser-Busch Clydesdales were introduced in St. Louis, MO on April 7, 1933 by the son of August A. Busch Sr., President of Anheuser-Busch, Inc.  A Clydesdale-drawn wagon traveled around St. Louis to commemorate the repeal of Prohibition—the cargo was the first case of post-Prohibition beer from the Anheuser-Busch brewery.  From that time on, the Clydesdales became the trademark for Anheuser-Busch.


Then, according to information on the Internet, Anheuser-Busch used the Clydesdales in TV commercials in 1951.  Their first commercial reportedly showed a team of eight horses pulling a beer wagon through the gates of August Busch’s estate.  Yee-ha!


So it looks like the answer to your question is that the use of horses in beer commercials has a long history and it’s hard to break from long-established traditions—beer = horses and horses = beer (or something like that).


In reality, however, I think that horses are included in beer commercials to suggest that you need to have a buzz on to have the guts to ride one, or maybe to ignore the smell.

Horses Singing

Doc:  A long time ago I saw a thing on the Internet that was  "singing" horses.  Each horse would "sing" when it was clicked.  Do you have any idea what I'm talking about?  I think my 6-year old daughter would find it amusing.  Thanks. - Anonymous


Anon: I'm almost positive this is what you're talking about - click here.

Hot AC

OK, so KHOP/Modesto recently flipped to Hot AC.  Their playlist consists of songs such as Pink, “Get The Party Started,” and Shakira, “Whenever, Wherever.”  It also includes some chart topping Hot AC.  My question is, “What is Hot AC?”


KIOI/SF plays the Hot AC charts, a lot of 80s, and some pop, like Kylie Minogue.  KLLC/SF plays the Hot AC alternative songs.  KHOP is playing dance and R&B in their Hot AC.  What the heck is Hot AC?  Based on the Hot AC charts (MediaBase) there are like four Hot AC stations in the country.  Help! - Anonymous


Anon:  To paraphrase Forrest Gump who said, “Stupid is as stupid does,” I would say that “Hot AC is as Hot AC does.”  Radio format names are imprecise descriptors—they are not exact.  At best, a format name identifies what the radio station in not rather than what it is.


For example, we know to some degree that a Hot AC radio station isn’t a Country music radio station (a station that concentrates on some type of Country music).  But there is no way to know the exact music a Hot AC radio station plays because there are no playlist rules or regulations for Hot AC or any other format.


In reference to the radio stations you mention in your question, Hot AC is what each radio station “says” it is, probably with the help of listeners in the respective markets.


Would you expect all Hot AC radio stations in the country to be exactly alike?  I don’t think so.  Each radio station (hopefully) customizes its playlist and approach according to the demands of the listeners in the market.

Hot AC and Females

Every time I look, Hot AC and Modern AC radio stations are picking up more of an alternative edge.  This is a format that is supposed to roll in the female 18-49 and 25-54 demos.  With playlists full of Green Day, Nickleback, Creed, Hoobastank, Jimmy Eat World, and Matchbox 20, how do these stations expect to get women?  What is the reason for this?  How far is too far?  Are women really falling for a Rock station that images itself as an AC station for women?  Or are women slowly moving to the Mainstream formats?   If so, is this the reason for the general depletion and lack of 12+ numbers for Hot ACs? - Anonymous


Anon:  Here are my thoughts about your comments:

  1. The only thing I know right now is that this is your perception.  I’m not saying you’re wrong, but I don’t know what females 18-54 think about your analysis, and they are the most important part of this equation.

  2. I don’t have any information about the “depletion and lack of 12+ numbers” for Hot AC radio stations.  However, even if I did, 12+ numbers don’t say much about the radio station because there is no radio station that I know of that targets a 12+ audience.

  3. Format descriptions are very imprecise and your definitions may or may not reflect reality.  Once again, I’m not saying that you’re wrong, but average listeners don’t know much about “Hot AC,” “Mainstream,” “Alternative,” or anything else.  What listeners DO know is what they like.  If Hot AC radio stations add music classified as “Alternative,” and the stations perform poorly, the performance may or may not relate to the addition of Alternative music.  I’d have to see some research information (good stuff) to support or refute the ideas you raise.

Good questions, but I don’t have enough information to provide specific answers.


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