Tuesday, October 03, 2006

"What we think, or what we know, or what we believe is, in the end, of little consequence. The only consequence is what we do." John Ruskin

"Chess is as elaborate a waste of human intelligence as you can find outside an advertising agency." Raymond Chandler

Experience has taught me successful media companies share one critically important characteristic - they enjoy the benefits of effective leadership. Granted, some media outfits are successful in defiance of incompetent leadership but they are rare. Allow me to share some thoughts of Peter Drucker...

"All effective leaders I have encountered...knew four simple things:

  • The only definition of a leader is someone who has followers. Some people are thinkers. Some are prophets. Both roles are important and badly needed. But without followers, there can be no leaders.
  • An effective leader is not someone who is loved or admired. He or she is someone whose followers do the right things. Popularity is not leadership. Results are.
  • Leaders are highly visable. They therefore set examples.
  • Leadership is not rank, privileges, titles, or money. It is responsibility.
Drucker goes on to say...

"...the effective leaders...also behaved much the same way:

They asked 'What can and should I do to make a difference?' This has to be something that both needs to be done and fits the leader's strengths and the way she or he is most effective.

They constantly asked, 'What are the organization's mission and goals? What constitutes performance and results in this organization?'

They were extremely tolerant of diversity in people and did not look for carbon copies of themselves. It rarely even occured to them to ask, 'Do you like or dislike this person?' But they were totally - fiendishly - intolerant when it came to a person's performance, standards, and values.

They were not afraid of strength in their associates. They gloried in it.

Finally, these effective leaders were not preachers; they were doers."

We can all learn something from Peter Drucker. I highly recommend The Daily Drucker, a collection of Drucker's writing. A link to Amazon info may be found in the upper right column of this page.

Paul Jacobs over at Jacobs Media talks about consumer press coverage of Oprah's XM debut...

"You would have to be dead or out of the country not to know that Oprah Winfrey has a new channel on XM"

Paul suggests the industry "go on the offensive" to win the PR battle. Specifically his notion is NAB and RAB would be well served in moving their conferences to New York . My sense is changing the venue alone won't make much of any difference. First, we need to make good copy. We need a story worthy of re-telling by consumer media. Oprah launching a new venture is good copy, it is news of interest to consumers. Moreover, "O" is a good get. When some 3,000 gather in the name of commercial radio what's the news? The story? What's the good copy? Who's the "get?" Further, to be fair, "getting major consumer press coverage" is not presently nor has it ever been a goal of the NAB's Radio Show nor the RAB's MSC. What resources, exactly, were devoted to generating consumer press coverage of the just completed NAB? My guess is...not much. Comparing the press generated by the focused, well financed efforts of an Oprah national product launch to that of an annual industry conference is perhaps inviting an impossible comparision. Still, my hat is off to Paul for being bold enough to even make the suggestion. Read Paul's post here. My thought is radio's story remains a local one (e.g., hometown station wins Marconi). To chase Paul's idea will require resources, including professional PR expertise, that will require money and, most important, a story.

Elephant in the room: Paul's comments do merit discussion. However, one wonders what national media would have thought had they covered the Dallas shows. Perhaps we should devote our attention to fixing session attendance, if not reinventing the shows, before we invite the press corps. Too many sessions drew too few and none that I'm aware drew SRO crowds. One consumer print free lancer told me the word that best described the shows was "apathy."

Loyd G Ford gets it: Loyd writes in his R&R commentary...

"Radio should hire an entirely different sales staff solely compensated by commission to sell Internet and podcast opportunities. The pricing would differ from radio ad sales. And because the sales team is a different group of people, there would be no added-value giveaway opportunity. It would be treated as another business and not tied directly to the radio station’s ad sales team."

Exactly Loyd! Bravo! Until such time that management understands the urgent need for at least two separate sales teams - the analog main channel sellers and the digital platform sellers - progress of any significance is not likely. Your non-spot rev will improve once it becomes the single most important source of income to a group of sellers. You might also consider establishing online budgets with team bonus program (This approach is producing almost $1 mil of online rev by the sales staff at one Chicago radio station). Read Loyd's commentary here.

Jeff Jarvis: "We are the new network...Big media companies don't own media anymore, we do" Well said Jeff, bravo! Check out Jeff's video commentary on ABC's World here. Meanwhile, back on the road with Amanda as she stops by Camp Jarvis in central Jersey, part 2 here

2G, 3G, WiBro, HSDPA? In the draft stage of a paper on digital distribution.