Thursday, May 04, 2006

"Organizations have a gravity, the weight is constantly being pushed into being problem-focused, and one has to fight it all the time. Not very many organizations are good at what I call 'exploitation of success.'" Peter Drucker

One of the best, and least covered, NAB 2006 sessions was the farewell address delivered by RAB CEO Gary Fries. Gary told it like it is. He was spot on when he said too many market managers continue the tradition of beginning their day with a shared single item agenda - destroy the guy accross the street. Truth be told, there is no such thing as the "radio industry" and there never has been. Broadcast is a collection of regulated small businesses that go to work each day ready to engage in the accepted doctrine of a zero sum game; managers are preoccupied with a single purpose...killing each other.

Bad metrics drive this behavior. Rather than a careful analysis of a market's total ad spend (all media), broadcast tends to focus on broadcast. Assisted by state-of-the-art competitive, managers direct sellers to get their share of live, real-time, dollars. The daily fight for ad spend becomes an internecine intramural, a brutal battle fought in a single media silo. That's the bad news, the good news is a growing number of operators are waking up and discovering all of the new opportunities, ones that only require hard work and fresh critical thinking to develop. I commend Gary Fries for having the courage to say what he has said, for caring enough about the business to deliver a much needed wake up call, and for leaving us with a sharing of his lessons learned...unvarnished and politically incorrect. Cheers!

Great to see George Hyde, Ron Ruth and everyone's favorite evangelist, Sparky, at last week's show. Kudos, congrats and bravo to Teri Rabel and staff for another wonderful NAB international reception - the best ever!