Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Photo credit: chefranden Moon Branch

"Things don't stay the same. You have to understand that not only your business situation changes, but the people you're working with aren't the same day to day. Someone is sick. Someone is having a wedding. [You must] gauge the mood, the thinking level of the team that day."
Coach K

Outstanding observation of "the obvious" from Coach K with thanks to Tom Peters for the tip here.

In my experience the obvious remains the most difficult to see. Getting a grip on reality as it as, not as it was, nor as you wish it to be is just plain hard work.

Leonard Downie, Jr. WaPo EE writes to the staff...
"This remains a challenging time, but also one of great opportunity – the opportunity to transform journalism for a new era in The Washington Post and on Even as we reduce newsroom staff and costs, we will have amply sufficient staff and talent to make this transformation." Read the entire memo here. (Thanks to Romenesko)

Fred Jacobs
writes about PPM and wonders...should programmers work hard to figure out the new methodology..."develop strategies for taking advantage of the rules, and plan tactics that will do just that?" Of course every program chief attempts to "game" the system, however, the new methodology (capture of hearing behaviors) represents a light jump from the present system (recall via literate behavior). The challenge of PPM is to get your station "purchased" inside the actual listening occasions, the "places" where audio is heard. Fred also asked how we first came to target Thursdays. While I am not certain of exactly who the first programmer was to direct resources into high PUR hours/days, I do recall the first person to openly advocate such practice was the late Jhan Hiber. Perhaps John Rook will recall. Read Fred's post here. A previous post of mine on PPM v Diary here

Which reminds me: When working for Mother W (Westinghouse) the corporate policy as set forth in "the red book" plainly stated we were prohibited from engaging the audience in any "forced listening" activity. Coming to WBZ from RKO this was like asking me to drive on the left hand side of the road, totally counter to my training and all known, accepted, effective best practice. Contesting was ok but not, never, when it required the audience to actually listen. Excuse me...I could get in trouble for doing something that would require people listen to my radio station? Why am I here? Isn't that my job? At RKO, we used every legal means available to game the system. We had even used direct mail and bought our list from Metromail the same list house used by Arbitron. But Mother W was a different kind of outfit. These were the same people who did not employ program directors but rather program managers. When I complained to Jim Yergin, the legendary media researcher and a mentor, he laughed and said "Your job is to get more listening reported why not do that across all hours." Let's just say it was a character building experience. I value, to this day, the lessons learned from Jim, his assistant Roy Shapiro, Bill Kaland, Bill Hartman and the shared wisdom of other past legendary minds including Al Heacock, and Jimmy Lightfoot.

Our pal and smart guy Mark Fratrik is projecting a 2.0% increase in 2007 radio revs; on the day job we are projecting a 1.6% increase - hope we are both wrong. No doubt next year will be difficult but, my pov remains, it is a time of truly incredible opportunity.

Random thoughts from today's Inside Radio: Not but one ad on page five that is not for a sales position and that one is for engineering folks. There's a sales crisis out there, and until that is fixed programming will continue to pay the price - stay tuned. Nothing about MoVin in LA? Rick Dees is sounding great. Seems too early to call. Free FM continues to fail (the troubled Chicago stick so low it does not make the 12+ listings) and it does not have to be that way. The really good news is these stations can, should and will get fixed - nothing but upside (Two problems - leadership and a failure of imagination). Good to see that Kevin continues to win with Jack in LA - bravo! As PJ says "In all of art it's the singer not the song."

If you always do what you've always done, then you'll always get what is past the time to get fresh leadership involved in the war. Without regard to your opinion on the engagement and all politics aside...Enough already! Start by firing General Abizaid. Clearly, the man has failed the mission. Next get the considered opinions of Thomas P.M. Barnett, Col Thomas Hammes, J. Arquilla and D. Rondfeldt.