Friday, September 29, 2006

"When all is said and done, a company, its chief executive, and his whole management team are judged by one criterion alone - performance."

"You read a book from the beginning to the end. You run a business the opposite way. You start with the end, and then you do everything you must to reach it." Hal Geneen

Congrats and cheers to the Google Reader team! Can't wait to get into the beta this weekend. Check it out here. Read in to the latest via the Google Reader blog, Ben Darnell has the scoop here

Lyle Dean, legendary Chicago radio news person signs-off at WGN tomorrow. The news coming via Robert Feder this morning. We will not see nor hear the likes of the great Lyle Dean again anytime soon. KOIL, WLS, ABC's American Contemp net, Lyle became a nationally known and respected voice. Over his many years on the air he inspired generations of radio anchors. He was instrumental in creating the 24-hour newsroom at RKO's WFYR (a history making first for FM music radio) serving as our ND. A class act, always the perfect gentleman, his wit and rich sense of humor consistently present. My thanks to programming whiz Tom Teuber who got in touch with the news. Tom also reminded me...Lyle, along with Lee Harris, once owned a very successful Polka station, WIBU, Poynette here in Wisconsin.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

"My father was in charge of the men's lavatory at the Ritz Hotel. My mother was a chambermaid at the same hotel. I was educated at the London School of Economics." First paragraph of the best job application letter David Ogilvy said he ever received

Glenn Beck
beats Chris Matthews, 25-54, 7pm show, Sept numbers: 149,000 to 132,000. Chris still leads in total viewers.

Gary Pahigian
, president of the Saga stations in Portland, Maine is interviewed by Mike Kinosian via IR here. Bravo to Mike - good job. Congrats to Gary, one of radio's best (lucky Saga).

The latest findings from the Radio Advertising Effectiveness Lab are available, via PDF, good stuff here

Stupid with no excuse. Last week my flight on American to Dallas was cancelled. The American folks, as usual, were great. I was on the next United flight. Once we were in the air the lead attendant made an announcement. "Economy Plus seating" she told us, was reserved for only those passengers who purchased Economy Plus seats in advance of departure. As this was my first time flying United since they created their Economy Plus program the announcement came across as a bit harsh. The vibe was "stay where you are", DO NOT move to one of the empty rows, remain in your Economy Minus middle seat. So what's the deal? They can sell beverages in flight, sell phone calls in flight, sell snacks in flight, yet United claims they are not able to sell you an upgrade in flight? They're wrong - being in a crowded middle seat aware of unoccupied three seat rows provides the perfect motivation to upgrade.

Rabbi walks into a bar with a frog on his shoulder. Bartender says "Where did you get that?" Frog says "Brooklyn, there are hundreds of them." (In memory of the great Norm Goldsmith)

1. What I Should Have Said. 2.What I Said. (with thanks to Mary Ann Madden)

1. "Look, there's a lot of traffic, and he's probably been stuck in a meeting all day and didn't get your message, or he'd have called. I'm sure there's nothing to worry about."
2. "Maybe he's dead."

1. "How can I ever thank you for pulling my grandson from that icy river?"
2. "Where are his mittens?"

1. "The house, the Mercedes and $500,00."
2. "Please don't leave me."

Paul Heine leads a good discussion of FM talk, video via R&R here. Good job Paul!

The closer: Dr. Jerry Boulding writes...

"Winning radio stations have to be inspiring, passionate, imaginative and caring. And they must offer compelling content. They should become something the audience looks forward to every morning and goes to bed with every night. They should be a part of the very fabric of people's lives."

Bravo Dr. B! Well said. You can enjoy more of the good doctor's wisdom via Joel Denver's always engaging, ever fresh AllAccess here (free sub req)

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

"If at first you don't succeed, sit down and ask what you have learned. Improve your approach and try once more. Maybe make a third effort. Then do something else...Most of the people who persist in the wilderness leave nothing behind but bleached bones." Peter Drucker

Too many stations have set themselves up for failure in the fall sweep. Old school rules apply in these cases. If what you are doing fails to produce a winning result in two books continuing to do the same thing expecting a different outcome is irrational, negligent behavior. If the PD can't break a two share, can't deliver winning numbers to the sales department after two books, get a new PD. Stop playing double down on clearly bad hands.

Today's image: Fall colors at the state capitol in Madison. Thanks to Roz Almond via The Isthmus Pool @ Flickr

Sean Ross thinks out loud about rhythmic AC and the reasons behind the take rate of the format (Seattle, LA, St Louis, San Francisco, Denver). Sean offers five thoughts including...

4) Because, Los Angeles notwithstanding, there's nothing similar in the space. Jack- and Bob-FM did better if you had a weak Hot AC or an older/harder Classic Rock in the market. Movin' and its brethern deal with music that's been entirely missing from the radio;

Read Sean's What Starts A Land Rush At Radio here

Bravo Sean - another well written piece. My sense is playing MIA music will not produce a sustainable competitive performance. Like any other version of oldies, and that's what it is - yet another jockless oldies reboot - the appeal is front loaded. The novelty of hearing a library of neglected tunes attracts strong initial sampling and peaks quickly. The "format" needs, in the least, the strong localization that is best delivered by live/local talent, unique staging dynamics - a presentation with real attitude beyond the cute feels good liners, and current music (cutting off titles after the year 2000 is patently stupid). If the music you play is your only raison d etre you have failed to establish an effective barrier to entry. In those cases the best physics wins, it was ever thus - the rim shot class A as R&D lab for the full market class B.

The competitive life cycle in music formats remains

  • Playing titles no other station is playing
  • Playing titles others are playing but playing them in a unique and different way (contrast)
  • Setting the station apart as live theater, bringing the station to life between the titles
  • Consistently extending the reach of the station, a fresh "made daily" approach getting the radio station involved, deep into the drama of daily life, 24/7
The single most important attribute - give them reasons to believe: if they missed listening to the station today...they missed something, they "feel" out of touch, they know nothing will "satisfy" their needs except connecting via the station. The station becomes a part of their life, a habit, a needed part of their daily routine. Jockless oldies stations need not apply, they lack the depth of any real emotion, the substance of community, the shared experience of living in the moment. Great stations are companions, they relate on a deep personal level, they entertain and inform, they have a soul.

These rhythmic AC launches smell of "herd instinct" at work...again, take the wayback machine to July 2005 here

AOL CEO Miller speaks at MIT, David Berlind has you covered - The long tail is real here

Microsoft takes on MySpace. Read all about Wallop, thanks to Dawn Kawamoto here

Robert Scoble debuts his brand new show "Scoble Show", here, congrats and cheers Robert!

Favorite wastes of bandwidth: By popular request, re-feeds for my UK friends (thanks for the emails!). Mind reading made simple here. Addictive cyrkam airtos game here

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

"Content that people are interested in watching is always valuable, no matter how the delivery technology changes." John Malone

"In the twenty-first century, change is discontinuous, abrupt, seditious...In this new age, a company that is evolving slowly is already on its way to extinction." Gary Hamel

Data exhibit courtesy Edison Media Research.

Words of wisdom from Messrs Malone and Hamel.

If you have not yet reviewed the Edison Media Research findings on 12-34 listening please do so; read the first installment of the findings here

Mixed reviews on the co-located NAB and R&R events of last week. David Rehr, John David and Erica Farber each deserve praise for intent. The attendance should prompt a serious discussion. Why were so many sessions attended by so few? The low session attendance should, at once, serve as a significant embarrassment and a wake-up call. My sense is the format of panels filled with talking heads is shopworn. What's missing? Involvement and active participation, learning and practical take away should become key measures of performance. NAB and R&R should study what's happening at events like BloggerCon, Foo Camp, et al - meetings using the so-called "unconference" model, a gathering of like-minded professionals creating a unique series of interactive discussions in real time. My suggestion is the "sage from the stage" format is, perhaps, no longer able to attract a sizable audience.

Then again. Let us stipulate that Rick Cummings and his planning group delivered a strong agenda with strong presenters and give Erica's planning team the same benefit. So if it was not the agenda, nor the format of the sessions, not the star studded panels, what was the problem? If there actually were 3,000 in attendance, as reported, the only reasonable conclusion is the majority in attendance elected not to attend those well planned sessions. Why? (Hint: it was the almost perfect captive audience, the north Texas summer temps slimming the prospects of any outside diversions)

The Marconi Awards dinner said to have attracted about 850 to 1,000 may have been the single biggest draw of the combined events.

As to the total attendance. Perhaps it is time to consider several regional events rather than the single annual fall meet. And in addition to a change in number of events, we also need to consider a change of format. Did you attend the NAB or R&R? Your thoughts are welcome.

Beasley gets it: Here's a wonderful opportunity for the forward thinking leader. Beasley is looking for a Director of Internet/Digital Sales. Smart, very smart. The exec will lead internet sales teams located at each of the company's ten markets. Have always had a high regard for George, his family, his team and his outfit. This latest news simply serves to confirm what is already widely known - Beasley gets it.

Thank you very much: My thanks to the many who extended to me the precious gift of their time during the show. To mention a few - more to come - Kirk Stirland, Bobby Rich, Robert Michelson, Stephen Baldacci, Gary Lee, Denise Oliver, Sherman Kizart, Danno Wolkoff, Todd Fowler, Michael Fischer, Jo Interrante, Bob Hamilton, Marv Dyson, Brad Bedford, Dick Rakovan, Ed Salamon, Alex Gould, Dan Mason, Jim Bohannon, Drew Horowitz, Jerry Bobo, Zemira Jones, J.D. Freeman, Ginny Morris and Jeffrey Myers.

Best dressed by a landslide: Marv Dyson

On the run:
Folks seen for the first time in too long included Jay Meyers, Clark Smidt, JT Anderton, Chet Tart, Barry Drake, Bill Lytle, Jaye Albright, the legendary Frank Boyle (looking GREAT Frank!) and the award winning (long overdue and very well deserved as EVERYONE agrees) programming ace Mark Edwards.

One word: Sparky (again, he owned another show).

Food as performance art: Avner Samuel is a rock star chef. His Dallas restaurant, Aurora, is that most rare of gems, a truly wonderful experience. Our dinner party during the Dallas trip might best be characterized as the perfect illustration of unforgettable food porn. John David Ishmael did an outstanding job conducting the amazing virtuoso performances at our table. If you have but one night in Dallas get thyself to one of the very few tables at this remarkable place (which masquerades as your friendly neighborhood Turtle Creek five star restaurant but it is so much more).

Thank you NASBA. My sincere thanks to the state association chief executives who allowed me the honor of presenting during their closed session. A very bright and engaging bunch!

Monday, September 25, 2006

The Penalty of Leadership

"In every field of human endeavor, he that is first must perpetually live in the white light of publicity. Whether the leadership be vested in a man or in a manufactured product, emulation and envy are ever at work. In art, in literature, in music, in industry, the reward and the punishment are always the same. The reward is widespread recognition; the punishment, fierce denial and detraction. When a man's work becomes a standard for the whole world, it also becomes a target for the shafts of the envious few. If his work be mediocre, he will be left severely alone - if he achieves a masterpiece, it will set a million tongues a-wagging. Jealousy does not protrude its forked tongue at the artist who produces a commonplace painting. Whatsoever you write, or paint, or play, or sing, or build, no one will strive to surpass or to slander you unless your work be stamped with the seal of genius. Long, long after a great work or a good work has been done, those who are disappointed or envious, continue to cry out that it cannot be done. Spiteful little voices in the domain of art were raised against our own Whistler as a mountback, long after the big would had acclaimed him its greatest artistic genius. Multitudes flocked to Bayreuth to worship at the musical shrine of Wagner, while the little group of those whom he had dethroned and displaced argued angrily that he was no musician at all. The little world continued to protest that Fulton could never build a steamboat, while the big world flocked to the river banks to see his boat steam by. The leader is assailed because he is a leader, and the effort to equal him is merely added proof of that leadership. Failing to equal or to excel, the follower seeks to depreciate and to destroy - but only confirms once more the superiority of that which he strives to supplant. There is nothing new in this. It is as old as the world and as old as human passions - envy, fear, greed, ambition, and the desire to surpass. And it all avails nothing. If the leader truly leads, he remains - the leader. Master-poet, master-painter, master-workman, each in his turn is assailed, and each holds his laurels through the ages. That which is good or great makes itself known, no matter how loud the clamor of denial. That which deserves to live--lives
." Theodore F. MacManus

MacManus was a rock star copywriter for General Motors. The text above his most famous writing. MacManus wrote the above "ad" for Cadillac. It ran once, with no illustration and wide margins of white space around the text, in the January 2, 1915 edition of Saturday Evening Post. The ad changed everything for Cadillac without mentioning the brand or the competition (Packard). Thirty years after the ad ran the trade Printers' Ink asked readers to name the greatest ad of all time. The Penalty of Leadership won first by a giant margin. When Ad Age created their Best 100 ads of all time list, in the late 1990s, the ad placed in the top half. MacManus would become known as the Claude Hopkins of soft sell.

Howie's dirty little secret: 2.7 million? That's the back of the envelope math on Stern's weekly listenership. Scott Greenstein of Sirius claims 58% of his 4.7mil subs listen during the week. (Without the benefit of Greenstein's further claim that about two people per sub listen) Are Howie's ad rates in free fall? More via Ad Age here. My challenge to Mel stands: show us your numbers or shut up already. (btw, if the numbers were any good at all it's a safe bet Mel would be wallpapering buyers, consumer and trade press with releases)

In Dallas last week for NAB Radio and R&R. Lots to share, later.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

"The competent creative man does not approach his job solely in terms of making an advertisement, or a series of advertisements. He must approach it with a clear understanding of what other factors are involved in the sale of the product."

"A company in which anyone is afraid to speak up, to differ, to be daring and original, is closing the coffin door on itself."

"If you're not fertile and imaginative and full of wonder and curiosity, I urge you to stay away from advertising."

Leo Burnett

My first job in Chicago put me to work in the Prudential building, then home to The Leo Burnett Company. Having studied the great Leo Burnett, it seemed totally right that every Burnett person I chanced to meet was bright, enthusiastic and excited about their job. It was a Burnett exec who first suggested I pay attention to the brilliant George Lois. Years later had the good fortune to engage George and his equally brilliant partner Dale Pon in a project.

Johnny B good: Jonathan Brandmeier gets attention the old fashioned way, he earns it. From today's Robert Feder...

"After an absence of eight years, Johnny B. returned to the Loop last fall. On Tuesday -- just two days before the start of Arbitron's fall ratings period -- he returned the Loop, at least for a day, to its former glory.

Everyone who does radio in this town could learn a thing or two from the master."

Read Robert Feder's "Leave it to Johnny to go out on a limb" via Chicago Sun-Times here

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

"Luck, chance, and catastrophe affect business as they do all human endeavors. But luck never built a business. Prosperity and growth come only to the business that systematically finds and exploits its potential. No matter how successfully a business organizes itself for the challenges and opportunities of the present, it will still be far below its optimum performance. Its potential is always greater than its realized actuality...What are we afraid of, what do we see as a threat to this business - and how can we use it as an opportunity?" Peter Drucker

Jacques Steinberg
writes about the Katie, Charlie and Brian ratings race, via NYT here. The story is not that Katie wins another week but rather what a tight fight it has become.

Emmis Chicago: Tim Duke posts a good trend at the Loop. New morning show bows at KQX. Have not heard the new morning venture but former Chicago funny man Larry Wilson phoned to remind me of something my friend Rick Sklar once advised "wait a month, then listen." Wise counsel. I'll check the show next month (and await the first review by Robert Feder)

Microsoft has MSN Video in Beta - take a peak at Soapbox here (you may also request an invitation to this invitation only Beta).

Road Trip! She's back - in a brand new show. Amanda kicks off her five week road trip and invites you along here Bravo Amanda, welcome back and good luck; travel safe.

Trends: Univision Romantica KLVE, #1 in LA posting a 5.0, KIIS steady 4.8 for 2nd place tie with Univision Regional Mex KSCA; KFI first to tie with KROQ for third, 4.5 to 3.9, JACK holds a 3.1 (to quote PJ "In all of art it's the singer not the song," it's Kevin not the format that's winning here), KLSX 1.4

In the city the CBS trio each remains under a 2. WNEW 1.8, CBS-F 1.7, FNY 1.5. WLTW holds first with a 5.8, SBS WSKQ close second with 5.7 (SKQ does best LTW 25-54). Gary Nolan one of the players that put WLTW on the map is reviewing his options - good man, we are certain to see him starring in a brand new show soon. The CBS trio is a storehouse of incredible potential waiting to be unlocked by the right programmers.

In Chicago KQX and JACK each post a 1.7; WGN continues to lead posting a 5.8, WGCI 5.4 for second; CKG remains stuck at a 0.9 - the station needs stronger local talent in addition to the brilliant Steve Dahl. The S&T experiment has clearly failed. The tragedy here is S&T don't know what they don't know. Left alone to create a program they have tried, done their best and failed. It may not have been the best decision to put them into the midday without also providing the direction and support needed to build a show, however, it is now time to either get serious about building a show or find a new show. Leaving the show as is, hoping for better numbers, expecting an audience to find the show, all exactly wrong. My sense is management failed S&T. As my Georgia relatives would say "something bad wrong here." Too bad, perhaps S&T had potential, we may never know.

Congrats & Cheers: Journal promotes Tom Land to corporate head of programming. Smart move - smart guy.

Got a handle on Web 2.0? Think again if you said yes. It's feeling like 1999 all over again here

You don't ask, you don't get. Bravo to Tom Webster and the Edison Media Research gang! Tom is posting the findings of the latest EMR study, a follow-on from 1993 of 12-24 listening. Here's the topline...

  • 12-17 TSL down 22% since 1993
  • 18-24 TSL down 24% since 1993
  • 12-17 boys who report no weekly radio listening: 11+%
  • Declines in 12-34 TSL and PUR
Tom will be posting a brief of topline daily, starting today, here

The implication, of course, is we have a product problem. Check that, it's more of a lack of product problem. However, the real issue here is not programming but sales, it was ever thus. Fred Jacobs makes note of an interesting development, media buyers searching for 18-34s using non-traditional media here. Can't blame the buyers or brand marketing folks. They have a market to reach and will do whatever is necessary to move their goods. Truth is the first tribe of wireless got outta dodge. Quest for and obsession about 25+ being driven by management under serious near-term pressure to deliver. And so we end up with more and more flavors of oldies based "new" formats. We continue to have a leadership problem in broadcast. A failure of imagination. Some teams are doing an exceptional job just not enough. CC in the city captures adults (WLTW) and youth (Z100), adult females (WLTW) and adult males (WAXQ). Bonneville deserves credit for a previous attempt at the same strategy, a youth targeted CHR to compliment KOIT. And there are examples of excellent youth targeted stations - Entercom in Milwaukee has done an superb job attracting the youth market with Brian Kelly's WXSS. More than enough stations, given the size of most market clusters today, are available to develop both youth and geezers with cash formats. Only three issues stand in the way of innovation, three road blocks preventing the investment and creation of killer Radio 2.0 - our sales teams, our attitudes about serving (and selling) the youth market (and the geezers with cash crowd), our near-term fiscal needs (esp those of public companies). The first step is to face reality as it is, not as it was, nor as we wish it to be. The second step is to embrace innovation, seriously. Let me add one other action item, a plea for public companies to stop doing quarterly calls. Since there is no requirement to do a call why create the unneccessary exposure? Why invite criticism? The market's not radio friendly at this point and since they only care about "growth" let us get a grasp on that story first. Finally, let me encourage you to follow Tom's posts and please join me in thanking the EMR crew for sharing.

Stay tuned: Michigan Avenue Music Row Alumni. Paul Gallis is up to nothing but good, again. Details to follow.

BONUS - Bandwidth well spent, set the wayback machine for 2003: Enjoy The Doc & Dave Show, World of Ends here

Monday, September 18, 2006

"A person who is nice to you but rude to the waiter - or to others - is not a nice person. (This rule never fails.)" William Swanson

Swanson's Unwritten Rules of Management: unwritten rule number 32...

"Watch out for people who have situational value systems - who can turn the charm on and off depending on the status of the person they are interacting with.

Be especially wary of those who are rude to people perceived to be in subordinate roles. This kind of behavior is not the mark of a leader."

Swanson delivers more wise counsel, could not agree more with number 32. He's also correct about the "never fails" quality of his rule. One of the reasons to get candidates "out" of the office and into different situations requiring interaction with others (restaurants and coffee shops included). Bruce Johnson taught me to conduct part of the interview process over dinner making certain to include significant others.

Nothing like attending the birthday party of a three-year-old: Reminded that it's always the story telling that makes or breaks the program, the package, the writing, the presentation. Here's what Robert Hutchins and Mortimer Adler said about the subject...

"'Tell me a story,' says the child, and the storyteller begins. In an instant, the world of common reality is left behind, and a new reality - more captivating, more intense, more real - catches up the listener on the wings of imagination."

It's all about the story. What's yours? How is it dramatically different from all others?

Ed Bark tells his story: The former Dallas Morning News writer is blogging...

"DMN management's recent decision to mostly cover national network television with wire service copy left me without much of a playing field. "Localism" is the new mantra, but I'd been muzzled on that front since Feb. 3, 2000. That's when Belo Corp., owner of the DMN and Dallas affiliate WFAA-TV (Channel 8), instituted a ban on critiquing or covering local TV news stations in what now is the country's sixth-largest TV market.

Exceptions to that edict have been ratings stories during the three annual major "sweeps" months and a bare handful of enterprise efforts. They've included a Nov. 13, 2003 column on anchor Clarice Tinsley's 25th anniversary at KDFW-TV (Channel 4). I had to lobby hard for that one, though, after the paper began promoting its considerable sports section coverage of anchor Dale Hansen's 20th anniversary at Belo-owned Channel 8. Somehow that didn't seem quite fair. Even top management had no defense for honoring
Dale and ignoring Clarice."

Read Ed's The Bark Starts Here - here (FD: Clarice and her husband, Steven are friends. Worked with Steven when he served as one of our NSMs at CBS/Infinity Dallas - Dave).

Ed is a son of Racine and a UW-Madison grad. Cheers and congrats on the new blog Ed! All the best to you.

Down-sizing the newsroom: DMN cuts 111, LA Times cuts 140. More at Romenesko
(Excellent opportunity for local broadcast to hire on experienced local writers.)

Radio Revitalized! A new book by our friend and serial entrepreneur Kurt Hanson will begin with a dedicated blog. Kurt launches the blog this Wednesday 9/20. Bookmark it now here. Congrats and kudos to Kurt, the book is certain to be a good read.

the cw debuts: Inside the network debut. Dale Hrabi has the inside at Radar Online here

Speaking of launches: NAB has a very cool new website. Congrats to David Rehr and team for a job well done. Check out the new site here. Members - watch your email this afternoon for new member id codes.

Good things happen to good people. Former Air America prexy and friend Gary Krantz named Chief Digital Media Officer at Westwood One. Release here

Shut Up! Rachael Ray debuts her new syndi show today. Find her show site here.

Claude Hall remembers WNEW and The Night Bird...

" Only Alison Steele remained from the all-female WNEW-FM. She was pretty, she was good. Her show, unknown to most people, was taped. Duncan, being a man, could not conceive at that time of a woman working all night. Unthinkable. However, it was Alison Steele and the image of Alison that led to every progressive rock station having at least one woman personality at some time of the broadcast day, including KMET-FM in Los Angeles. And, in fact, Alison on WNEW-FM probably contributed largely to the overall acceptance of women in radio. Prior to her success (mild though it was) on WNEW-FM, it was thought that even women wouldn't listen to women and men especially didn't care to hear women on the radio.

WNEW-FM became so vastly successful in advertising that it path-blazed new ideas and concepts in mass media advertising." More from Claude Hall on the history of WNEW here

The Night Bird was a part of my life. Never missed her show. At Christmas time she would read the cards sent to her. The three FM stations that you would hear playing all over the city in those days were WNEW, WBLS and WXLO. Thank you Claude for remembering Alison and WNEW. It was during those days, while attending Pace, that I auditioned for a news anchor job at WXLO (99X). ND Keeve Berman was polite and passed. A few years later I joined the company (RKO) in Chicago. Mike Prelee (sp?) WHN ND was also kind enough to interview me and also passed. Years later while at Doubleday we bought WHN and I officed at the station during my last days with the firm. Small world. Both Keeve and Mike were good news directors. They took the time to interview a kid and their advice was solid - go get a reporter job, which I did.

Fun with Orbitz. Schedule change required me to change the return segment of my air. The website provided me with the news that my ticket could NOT be changed online. After calling their customer service (automated) and getting a person to assist the options became clear. Have elected to opt-out of the Orbitz suggested protocol. $100 change fee, $30 Orbitz service charge PLUS any remaining fare difference. Purchase of a one-off one-way return turns out to be cheaper. The lesson here appears to be...Orbitz is very cool IF you do not have a change of plans.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

"I never heard of a focus group that said they liked negative advertising but they sure do remember it." James Carville

Elections this week reminded me. What came to mind were things Joe Klein writes about in his book Politics Lost. Here's some of what Joe has to say...

"I am hopeful that we are coming to the end of the era that Ailes began. The ceremonies of consultancy have become threadbare and transparent; they may still work, but only in the absence of a real alternative.

And what might that alternative be?

A politician who refuses to be a 'performer,' at least in the current sense. Who doesn't orate. Who never holds a press conference in front of an aircraft carrier or in a flag factory. Who doesn't assume the public is stupid or uncaring. Who believes in at least one idea, or program, that has less than 40 percent support in the polls. Who can tell a joke - at his or her own expense, if possible. Who gets angry, within reason; gets wimpy, within reason...but only if those emotions are rare and real. Who is capable of a spontaneous, untrammeled belly laugh. Who indulges a guilty pleasure or two, especially ones that may not 'test' well. Who isn't averse to kicking his or her opponent in the shins, but does it gently and cleverly. Who radiates good sense, common decency, and calm. Who is not afraid to deliver bad news. Who is not afraid to admit a mistake. Who abides by the sign that graced Franklin Delano Roosevelt's Oval Office: 'Let Unconquerable Gladness Dwell.'"

Bravo Joe. Just where are those politicans you speak of?

Ad Age says this year's political ad spend may reach 1.6 billion, most all of that goes into broadcast TV. More on spending from Ad Age here. For those CFOs keeping score, that's 1.6 large that will not be on the table next year. 2007 is shaping up to be a very difficult year.

Stunt this. Sweeps are upon us and so are the stunts. It took a conversation with the scary smart Brian Kelly to put this into perspective for me. Why would you stage an elaborate stunt, capture the attention of listeners (or viewers) and let them down with a weak payoff or no payoff at all? Getting a buzz going about "change" is cool provided you actually change something.

Does new always have to be old? The Jacks, Bobs, Charlies (and now Movin) all seem to hold the potential of being well done jockless reboots of oldies. Which begs the question. Do they have to debar the new? the current? Without playing currents it's not new simply another flavor of old. It is more about making the old new again, especially when the certain old has been MIA. Formats begin when the elements are unique and different. Once the same elements are used by others the competition becomes how those elements are played. Creating and sustaining contrast becomes the game. When yours is the only country station you've organically created contrast. The minute another country station comes on it's no longer about the music but about how the music and everything else is played. When a format or demo competitor arrives the sound of your station changes because of what your new competitor does or does not do. The game is played on the listener side of the radio, in the listener mind. Contrast is not static, it is a dynamic at work in your market. Listen for what's not there, that's the key that cracks the code. The example we use in our marketing workshops is Coke v Pepsi. The key point about people drinking Coke is not that they are drinking Coke but rather what they are not drinking, they are not drinking Pepsi. Come on, it's fashion week. Where's the new fall fashion in media? Which reminds me of those mad cool promos that Tim Fox used to run promoting his "new fall season." Everything old is new again. However, sometimes, the best new What's next? The bespoked format, back to the future.

Harvey Wells GM of the three station Nine FM operation in suburban Chicago is going out of his way to make a point. As I understand it, Harvey says he has cut his spot load to six minutes an hour (from eight) and his new policy provides stop sets will not exceed one minute. Ok so far. The man is having a difficult year and he turns low inventory demand into a positive for his buyers. Ye old "environment" pitch. Got it. Then he knocks over his water dish. "Not sure a station has played so few commercials per hour since the birth of FM" he tells IR. Object lesson - Don't gild the lily.

Congrats to Chuck Schaden the new host of "When Radio Was" the radio show in national syndi flag-shipped out of Drew Hayes' WBBM NewsRadio, Chicago. Cheers too to uber-mensch Brad Saul prexy of Matrix Media, his guys are doing the national distribution.

I heart Google, again and again: We are using Google coupons and Judy's Book coupons for the retail store while at the same time doing another (our last I hope) mailing of dead tree stuff. Each represents the same offer. In the early going Google leads. Very cool products - congrats to the Google and Judy's Book coupon teams. The Google audio-ad solutions crew continues to recruit and they're looking for exactly the right people. You may find their open job postings here

Tony Malara remembered. A tribute has been scheduled for Sept 26th in the city at 21. More info here. There will never again be the likes of Tony, truly a bigger-than-life original, a character; he did work that mattered and made a difference in every situation where he was involved.

Allen Kepler announces BA's intent to launch a 24-hour Smooth Jazz network. Perfect talent for Allen's initiative - Myke Julius, the legendary urban poet just now late of CC Chicago.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

" isn't enough to be first. You also have to have the goods." Robert Scoble

Canard: First mover advantage
. Catching up on Robert's blog I came across his comment about being there first. Have to agree with Robert. There are so many examples that vanquish this long standing myth. In consumer goods - Oreo (not the first cookie of its kind). Online - Google (not even close to one of the first search engines). Getting there first with "the goods", totally different matter.

Today's image, an ad by Hugh MacLeod for DDB.

Which reminds me, again, of Bill Bernbach..."If I gave any advice to anybody, it's to know his product inside out before he starts working. Your cleverness, your provocativeness and imagination and inventiveness must stem from knowledge of the product. I think the worst thing that's happening today is this juggling of a page of graphics - it's not hard for anybody to get ideas - the important thing is to recognize when the idea is good. You must have imagination, you must have inventiveness, but it must be disciplined. Everything you write, everything on a page, every word, every graphic symbol, every shadow, should further the message you're trying to convey. You know, you measure the success of any work of art by how well it's achieved its purpose. And anybody in advertising who doesn't say his purpose is to sell that piece of merchandise is a phony. And you must be as simple, and as swift, and as penetrating as possible. And it must stem from knowledge. And you must relate that knowledge to the consumers' needs...We in America are spending so darn much money for efficiency, to measure things, that we're achieving boredom like we've never achieved before. We're right about everything, but nobody looks...What you must do, by the most economical and creative means possible, is attract people and sell them. Now, this is difficult. This is sweat. This is working." Wise advice from the legendary genius William Bernbach.

They Came, Saw, Left: Couric Drops to Third (AP story via WaPo here)...

"Katie Couric led the "CBS Evening News" to its first weekly ratings win in more than five years, but her honeymoon may be short -- she slipped to third place on Monday."

Here's the race in total viewers (000) - Nightly 8,270 World 7,870 Evening 7,490. 25-54 (000) Nightly 2,720 World 2,590 Evening 2,550 - that's 170,000 viewers between first and third - a tight fight. Still making book Katie places in Nov.

Lots of chatter that Air America will seek protection under reorg/backruptcy.

The arc of media. As Gibbon once wrote about Roman war: "gradually improved into an art, and degraded into a trade"

Paul R. La Monica covers the Merrill Lynch Media & Entertainment conference...

"No one can accuse us of being off the radar," said Moonves. "We are alive and well and thriving on every front."

More 'Old media': We're not dead! via CNN Money here

Kurt Hanson makes the case for webcaster royalty rates, part one here - second in his series here. Important stuff. Bravo to Kurt!

Monday, September 11, 2006

"Nothing is lost upon a man who is bent upon growth; nothing wasted on one who is always preparing for his work and his life by keeping eyes, mind, and heart open to nature, men, books, experience. Such a man finds ministers to his education on all sides; everything co-operates with his passion for growth. And what he gathers serves him at unexpected moments in unforeseen ways." Hamilton Wright Mabie

Jimmy Cramer
writes about Sumner Redstone, why Les is hot and Tom was not...

"To me, Freston just didn’t know how to play the Wall Street game, the one that Redstone cut his teeth on and Moonves understood so well. All Freston had to do was say that there were some short-term concerns out there, such as problems with MTV and Nickelodeon, that could be fixed by some aggressive moves on the Web. Had he set the bar low, like Moonves did, he could have beaten the numbers and gotten the opportunity over time to negotiate takeovers of some high-profile Web properties like Facebook or YouTube. That could have funneled a new generation of young customers into Viacom’s ailing cable units and brought instant love from analysts who would have seen the company not as an old media dinosaur but as a new media leader—say, the next Google."

Good call Jimmy. I agree with what Sumner did, however, respectfully disagree with how he did it. Read JC's writing in New York Magazine here

A review of the new collection of writing by Pulitzer Prize winner David Remnick reminded me of something the great Gordon McLendon once said. Gordon stated that to be successful you need to...

"Carefully study what everybody else is doing, then, do the opposite."

Counsel, so it would seem, that Remnick observes...

"Celebrity culture is far from over; if you wrote a plan for a magazine and said you thought you could make a profit by publishing 8,000-word pieces on the future of various African nations, hefty analyses of the pension system and a three-part series on global warming, hordes of people would laugh in your face. So how has Remnick done it? Before I met him, I asked this of an acclaimed New York journalist, who said: 'If you can work that out, you will have the scoop of the century. No one knows.'"

Read Gabby Wood's "The Quiet American" via Guardian Unlimited Books here

John Higgins writing at B&C, Why The Cable Buzz Is Gone...

"Cable networks now have to fight harder for any increase in revenues and profits, and easy growth no longer covers up their mistakes. The buzz is gone. Online video subscribers have seized the buzz, are increasingly diverting viewers and will threaten to eventually steal ad sales. Wall Street rewards the prospect of high growth and yawns at the prospect of modest growth.

“It's a classic stage of the business life cycle,” says Tony Vinciquerra, president of the Fox Networks group. “You have to regenerate the business in some way and introduce new growth.” Tellingly, Vinciquerra has revived the slow parts of his cable portfolio and, hence, was the only network executive I contacted who was willing to discuss the issue on the record.

How did cable suddenly become old media?"

Read the entire article here. My thanks to creative whiz Dave Logan for the tip. Dave, as you may know, is ever the assiduous, pertinacious, scary smart and winsome professional.

Irrational exuberance remembered. Congrats and cheers to Tom Castro and his Border Media Partners. Tom has purchased the two San Antonio CBS Radio stations for $45 mil. More details here. What's with the "irrational exuberance"? A young turk media broker that I respect reminded me...CBS paid $90mil for those stations back in 2000. Now that was indeed irrational. Ouch. The months before the Spring crash of 2000 were crazy times. Folks were talking dope, the fundamentals of good business management out the window, reality suspended. Chatter about NASDAQ 5,000 was commonplace, a done deal. During those days I served as chief marketing officer at a dotcom. At an off-site gathering of c-level officers, one idiot was bold enough to declare "Profit means nothing, traffic is everything." He went on to say we were not spending money fast enough. His plan? "Spend every dollar of our last round in order to get another round." Brilliant! Last I heard that genius now answers to "clean-up on aisle #" pages.

Irrational, embarrassing, stupid. On September 10, 2001 we flew home to Portland, Oregon from Chicago. We arrived around midnight, minutes into the new day of September 11, the last of our holiday. Later, awoke to a call from family out east. That five years have gone by without first responders getting the radio spectrum needed to facilitate communication during a crisis is irrational, an embarrassment, simply stupid without excuse. Please join me this week in writing to members of congress about this urgent issue.

Blogging Hollywood: Steve Bryant noted for his good work at GoogleWatch, blogs Hollywood. Jump to his Reel Pop here. Congrats and cheers Steve!

No mas! Enough already. The collection of loons and fools that continue to front the conspiracy arguments about 9.11 need to seek professional help. The only thing worse, the worst of all in fact, is providing airtime to these whackjobs. Disrespectful hacks one and all. There is no story here period

400 year death spiral continues: Joe Hagan writes in New York Magazine...

"...the very business of selling newspapers is falling apart. The Web has gnawed away at the Times’ ad revenue, and as the cost of newsprint soars, the newspaper itself is literally shrinking: Next year, the Times will be 1.5 inches narrower, with 5 percent less space for news (not a huge loss, but a crushing metaphor). Under publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr., whose family has operated the paper since 1896 and maintains majority ownership, the company’s shares have lost half their value since 2002, frustrating not only Wall Street but legions of stock-owning employees. While Sulzberger searches for new sources of revenue in what appears to be an ad hoc manner, he entrusts the editorial power to Bill Keller, who, famously, was not Sulzberger’s first choice to be in charge."

Read "The United States of America vs. Bill Keller" here

Whats up with the recent flood of faux Returned/Failed/Rejected email spam?

Peter Smyth gets it. As written here previously, Peter deserves high marks, his leadership by example is uncommon. From his latest "From the Corner Office" post...

"At the risk of sounding even more old school than I am, I still believe that public service not only matters, it's more important than ever before. A station license is not a right - it is a privilege and with that privilege come moral and ethical responsibilities to the communities we serve. We are not licensed to live and broadcast in the community and only take from it. We are expected to give back, in time, energy, involvement and commitment. It's our obligation, as broadcasters, to enrich our communities and make them better than the way we found them."

Read the entire post here

Sunday, September 10, 2006

"There are two kinds of discontent in this world; the discontent that works, and the discontent that wrings its hands. The first gets what it wants, and the second loses what it has. There is no cure for the first but success; and there is no cure at all for the second." Gordon Graham

has published findings from their second annual survey of the world's most respected companies. Institutional money managers were asked to grade the world's 100 largest companies (as measured by market capitalization). Here is the top ten and some selected others. Complete findings, this week's cover story, with narrative available here (sub req)

  1. Johnson & Johnson
  2. General Electric
  3. Procter & Gamble
  4. Toyota Motor
  5. Berkshire Hathaway
  6. PepsiCo
  7. ExxonMobile
  8. Goldman Sacks
  9. Honda Motor
  10. Amgen
Others: Google #20, Microsoft #22, News Corp #43, Walt Disney #46, Comcast #52, Time Warner #100.

2005 US Census data available online: Now you can check out your metro using data points from the 2005 census data base here

Saturday, September 09, 2006

"Encourage ferment and innovation. In advertising, the beginning of success is to be different, the beginning of failure is to be the same."

"You cannot bore people into buying your product, you can only interest them in buying it. You cannot save souls in an empty church."

David Ogilvy

Big John Howell
(pictured) joins Salem's WIND, Chicago to lead a new live and local breakfast show. Congrats to Big John and kudos to WIND VP/GM Dave Santrella. Robert Feder offers up the details here.

Rome Hartman, Katie Couric and the entire CBS Evening team deserve applause having posted their third first in-a-row. Evening averaged 9.48 mil viewers compared to second place World's 6.58 mil. From the same week one year ago Evening is up 48% in households, up 45% in total viewers. Still needing work: The closing shot of Katie. They'll get there.

Congrats to Alan Burns, his Movin format is on in St Louis at Bonneville's WVRV, The New Movin 101.1. You can check it out via live stream here. Kudos for having a first day web strategy - giving listeners 1) live streaming 2) a means of contact and comment. I'll live with the stream for a few days before offering a review. Sean Ross reviews the early bidding and puts things into perspective here. Bravo Sean!

What was the Summer Song of 2006? Sean Ross offers up his take, and others comment here

Why buy Daily Candy when you can start your own? Barry Diller team creates VSL (Very Short List), still in pre-launch stealth, sneak a look here

10 Ways to Think about Innovation, an article by Jason Pontin writing in MIT's Techology Review...

  1. Successful innovators are famously untroubled by the prospect of failure.
  2. Many innovators appreciate failure.
  3. Innovators commonly recognize that problems and questions are the limiting resource in innovation.
  4. Innovators find inspiration in disparate disciplines.
  5. Innovation flourishes when organizations allow third-party experimentation
  6. Fragility is the enemy of innovation
  7. Real innovators delight in giving us what we want: solutions to our difficulties and expansive alternatives to our established ways.
  8. They are, it is true, sometimes perplexed by our ignorance of our own needs
  9. Successful innovators do not depend on what economists call "network externalities"
  10. Many innovators become technologists because they want to better the world
Read Jason's article here

Friday, September 08, 2006

"The true role of advertising is exactly that of the first salesman ever hired by the first manufacturer - to get business away from his competitors. Or, as the economists phrase it, to 'shift the demand curve between products.'"

"Advertising is the art of getting a unique selling proposition into the heads of the most people at the lowest possible cost."

Both quotations from Rosser Reeves, the legendary ex-Chairman of the Board of Ted Bates & Company. Each taken from his famous writing Reality in Advertising.

Truly, a great writing, a remarkable work. My favorite story from the book...

"In 1905 Albert Lasker - described by his friend, Ben Sonnenberg as 'an advertising man carved out of the side of a mountain' - was sitting in his office in Chicago when a messenger brought in a note from a stranger. It read:

'I am downstairs in the saloon. I can tell you what advertising is. I know you don't know. If you wish to know, send the word 'yes' down by the bellboy.' SIGNED - John E. Kennedy

This was the first appearance on the advertising scene of this remarkable man. Tall, strikingly handsome, and an ex-member of the Canadian Mounted Police, he was the first great advertising theorist. Most of his theories, set down by Lasker years later, are still as fresh and glistening as new paint on the wall.

Kennedy's first question to Lasker was: 'Do you know what advertising is?'

'Yes,' said Lasker, 'I think I do. Advertising is news about a product.'

'No,' said Kennedy. 'News is merely a technique of presentation. Advertising is salesmanship in print.'

The definition sounds primitive today, but at that time it was revolutionary. Some men had confused advertising, as they still do today, with great writing. Others were devoting their lives to finding clever slogans. Still others were content with pictures of the product."

Rosser Reeves, writing in 1960, set forth the fundamentals, the basics of effective advertising. My suggestion is you read this incisive book, you'll benefit from his clarity and candor - check your library for a copy.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

"Persistence or tenacity is the disposition to persevere in spite of difficulties, discouragement, or indifference. Don't be known as a good starter but a poor finisher!" William Swanson

From Swanson's Unwritten Rules of Management: unwritten rule number 9...

"There is often a wonderful excitement when starting something new. It is important to maintain that passion throughout the course of an assignment, especially when difficulties arise or the project encounters negative thinkers or those who lack the commitment to persevere.

We all want to get new projects off to a strong start, but it is equally important to stay engaged throughout the process - to push the project forward when necessary, especially as it nears the finish line. Good process will help immeasurably, but so will your passion to see the project to fruition.

For me, and for many managers, the red flag word is 'never.' Don't say you'll 'never' be able to overcome the obstacles - unless you have truly analyzed each obstacle and demonstrated in a fact-based way that they are truly insurmountable. 'Never' is the ultimate challenge to me."

More wise counsel from Bill Swanson. During an off-site yesterday the expectation, the goal, was to develop practical strategies to ensure a double digit increase in 2007 operating income (ebitda). At the lunch break a couple of folks new to the planning process took me aside. Their take on the morning session...we would "never" reach the 2007 targets by just getting better at what we were already doing. They viewed the "continuous improvement initiative" as a serious distraction, dedicating precious resources to achievement of small, unsustainable gains. By contrast, the afternoon session was very productive - we changed the pov. From a focus on activity to a focus on results.

Two in a row: Katie Couric & Co score a second night first. Evening posted a 7.0 rating/14 share leading World's 5.3/10 and Nightly's 4.9/10. Congrats to Katie and CBS.

Katie's Theme Speaking of Katie, the LA Times has the back story on the new Evening score...

"The unspoken directive to be new yet safe, original yet familiar, may have been the hardest part of Horner's assignment. Not for him the relative freedom John Williams had when he wrote the "NBC Nightly News" theme in 1985. Much of Horner's music seemed drawn from something else, starting with the two-chord exclamation at the very beginning of the broadcast (shades of Puccini's "La Boheme"), and continuing with echoes of the old theme featured in CBS broadcasts for the last 17 years. Although the composer spoke of breaking the mold, the music sounded as if he were carefully adhering to it.

So what does "Katie's Theme" tell us? To this ear, its strongest message is: I'm pretty, I'm packaged, I'm slick, I'm new, I'm careful. In other words, Horner has succeeded admirably. His theme is a perfect embodiment of what Katie Couric, so far, has meant to the evening news landscape."

Read "Katie Couric's New Groove" by Anne Midgette, via the LA Times here

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

"I have come to feel that everything, even the most ordinary daily affair, is enriched by the lessons that can be gleaned from art: that beauty is often where you don't expect to find it; that it is something we may discover and also invent, then reinvent, for ourselves; that the most important things in the world are never as simple as they seem but that the world is also richer when it declines to abide by comforting formulas...The best amateur has the skills of a professional but true professionals stay amateurs at heart, keeping a lid on the cynicism and irony that can pass for sophistication in some circles." Michael Kimmelman

Image above, chairs at the UW Union, thanks to nielsb via the Isthmus Pool @ flickr

Reading to share, both highly recommended.

Love to cook? Reading Bill Buford's "Heat." The subtitle says it all "An amateur's adventures as kitchen slave, line cook, pasta-maker, and apprentice to a Dante-quoting butcher in Tuscany." Fun read. Amazon info here

Love to write? Read? Reading the new Francine Prose book "Reading Like a Writer." A gem, Amazon info here

The numbers are in: Spare me the sampling bounce arguments, duh. Let's give Katie and CBS some credit here. 13.5 million viewers put Katie's first night in first. Nightly 7.7 million, World 7.5 million. Largest margin of victory in total viewers since Sept of 93 the first data point in the CBS Research database. 25-54 - Katie 3.9, Brian and Charlie each 2.3 rating in the money demo. I'll stand by my earlier forecast, Katie to place (nothing less) in Nov. So much for all the bad reviews of this morning. Hacks! Nobody likes Katie Couric but the viewers. Congrats to Katie and Company. Cheers to Sean and Les. First is first or as my colleague Don Kelly likes to say "There's a name for those who do not finish in first place...loser" and in the words of my mentor Paul Drew "Being #1 requires no explanation."

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

"The business model that sustained us for decades is no longer sufficient to sustain profitability" William Clay Ford Jr.

Quotation from Mr. Ford's email to the troops last week. Good to see a chief executive face reality - as it is, not as it was, nor as he wishes it to be. That's the first important step. The next is to say "I don't know." Then take a page from Drucker and ask "what needs to be done?" and get creative collaboration going. As Gary Hamel says "All that matters is whether you care enough to start from where you are." Recruiting a new chief executive from Boeing - smart move. He has nothing to unlearn about the car business.

Congrats to Jeff Haley, new CEO of RAB. Exactly the kind of executive needed to lead the RAB's charge into the 21st century! Kudos, cheers and much appreciation to John Dille, Weezie Kramer, Scott Herman, Bud Walters, Stu Olds, Peter Smyth and David Kennedy for doing the unconventional thing, the right thing for the RAB. Word from my colleagues at Time Warner is all good. Another case of nothing to unlearn - excellent move.

Tom Freston steps down. Not that many years ago the VMA broadcast brought in ten million viewers, this year they pulled about half of that. Another Sumner move that seems more about stock price and street confidence than other performance measures. Tom is a good man. During his watch a small cable operation grew into a brand of international renown. Should he chose to do so more exciting adventures are in store - stay tuned.

Katie Couric debut - B

First nighter does a good job. New set, new crew (on and off the new set), new job and add to that the expectations - not the least of which being those of the critics and you have to say Katie done good tonight. Nervous, of course and that's a good thing in this case. The woman cares and it shows. From Walter's opening vo and the somewhat disappointing new score (an echo of a stronger original) the show moved well. Solid direction. Warm, crisp graphics package. Some short takes...

Two shot with Friedman was very good. Katie's closer "what can be done?" while an excellent question is placed wrong. I'm certain Friedman has a really good half-hour answer. But credit to Katie...for intent. There may be a better way to handle this. Online perhaps? Leave the piece with a call to action. "You'll find more of our conversation with Thomas Friedman including his views on what can be done, at"

Super graphics on the desk? Too smart by half.

Throw & Catch: Thank you on the catch is fine, no need to add "so much"

Looking comfortable, confident but - old habit of looking down, averting her eyes and head after package throws - she'll fix it. Overall her look and tone...elegant and warm. Good friendly vibe.

Anthony Mason's package was good but the illustration he used about a one day yield of production "you could drive 55 million miles" is poor writing and difficult for the viewer to comprehend much less imagine. Better metaphor needed.

Use of the stacked b&w file images of Uncle Joe and Adolph competing along side the squeeze shot of Bush was too much. The reader plus the Bush audio/video was enough. Tried too hard on this one.

The Hartman kicker was actually good. A pleasant departure from his nuns on rollerblades that sell baked goods and coffee drinks to grid locked commuters stuff. The bump in graphic with "hit music" rip worked fine without the "DJ backsell" reference leading the package. Would actually have worked better inside as a bump out.

Good use of video on the sign-off pitch, some 50+ yo ND probably grabbed his chest when Knight and Burgundy ran ON HIS 630 SHOW. The humanity. That is exactly the soft edge needed to help create contrast. Finally, someone on a 630 show dares to be a wee bit playful. Nothing wrong with that. Brian Williams take note, it's ok, really. Good drive to the web too. Engage the audience - perfect.

Note to graphics - tight work, however - when you have a talent blessed with such a great smile you do not use the headshot without that smile - please lose the "there's trouble here, my goldfish died" headshot on the web banner, way too serious. Should have ended the show with a graphic about tomorrow nights exclusive with Bush. You buried the same leed on the website.

Word: Vocab web feature cool idea. Using the G word all by itself sent your message. Could have left the reference to a male body part where it belongs...a joke among adults in the newsroom not on the web where children will find it. This falls under the Katie Couric as role model - get it. First woman solo anchor. Perk is cool, snark is not, take the high road. While I'm at it here are some words submitted for your approval. Alacrity, elan, and yare.

Overall - good show! Congrats to Katie and the CBS gang. (I would have made this shorter but I didn't have the time).

Friday, September 01, 2006

"There are two reasons for everything - a good reason, and the real one." Winston Churchill

"Do you remember that in classical times when Cicero had finished speaking, the people said 'How well he spoke' - but when Demosthenes had finished speaking, the people said 'Let us march'?" Adlai Stevenson

Image featured, Madison's Olbrich Botanical Gardens. Thanks to WisDoc via The Isthmus Pool at Flickr.

Elizabeth Jensen writes about the new half-hour PBS series "AIR: America's Investigative Reports" via NYT here. Bravo to the WNET team! The twelve week run begins tonight - check your local listings and, as Gary Owens likes to say "Don't miss it if you can!"

Craig Newmark is funding a new news venture; Jeff Jarvis serves as editor-in-chief of the startup. Still in stealth, they are hiring for their enterprise - the working title is Daylife. More info here and here. (Thanks to Cory and the LR gang for the pointer)

Most of the eighteen year-olds entering the class of 2010 this fall were born in 1988

The annual Beloit College Mindset List is out. The list, prepared to help faculty to better understand freshman perspective, is always a fun read. Created by Tom McBride and Ron Nief the list deserves your attention.

According to McBride, this year’s entering students form “a generation that has always been ‘connected’ and is used to things happening in ‘real time,’ like live satellite coverage of revolutions and wars, instant messaging and movies on demand. They expect solutions for every problem, from baldness to diseased organs. To the chagrin of teachers and parents, they’ve developed their own generational means of communication.”

"For them: Billy Carter, Lucille Ball, Gilda Radner, Billy Martin, Andy Gibb, and Secretariat have always been dead."

Some selected points of the 75 points on the list...

9. A stained blue dress is as famous to their generation as a third-rate burglary was to their parents'

10. Thanks to pervasive headphones in the back seat, parents have always been able to speak freely in the front.

11. A coffee has always taken longer to make than a milkshake.

20. Text messaging is their email.

32. Reality shows have always been on television.

Check out the entire list, and lists from previous years, here. Kudos to Tom and Ron - good job!