"You have to give people a reason to pay attention to the news. You have to present news in a way that's forceful and compelling." Richard Stengel
Patrick Phillips chats up Richard Stengel, the new managing editor of Time here. Bravo Patrick, well done.
Media Audit tells us that "about 76,000" folks are listening to pay radio (both services combined) in the city. To put this into perspective WADO-AM, the Univision Spanish newstalker posted a 1.2 share with a 400,000 cume. So one single AM station in the city has about five times the audience of both pay radio services combined in the city. The future of pay radio is fraught with peril. My sense is the best subscription media folks on the planet are the HBO gang. Last I checked they had about 28 mil subs. You might think that "everyone" watches HBO however that perception is not supported by reality (numbers). There is a limit to the number of folks that will listen to pay radio. Allow me to be bold and suggest that the higher end of their potential number is the same as HBO's present reach...28 million. This would compare to broadcast radio's reach of about 200 million plus.
Thursday, August 31, 2006
"You have to give people a reason to pay attention to the news. You have to present news in a way that's forceful and compelling." Richard Stengel
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
"Too many publishers think of newspapermen, including their own editors, as hopeless romantics, committed to the myth of the fearless journalist. They are actually right. But they should trust that myth. Upon that myth, they can build great newspapers that will also be healthy businesses. Newspapers need men and women with fire in the belly, not a collection of bloodless bureaucrats, content to clerk the news. Trust is the heart of the matter. Publishers must trust their editors. Editors must trust their reporters. All must trust the intelligence and good sense of their readers." Pete Hamill
Finalists in the 2006 Online Journalism Awards (ONA) have been announced. Congrats and cheers to MSNBC, CNN, BET, BBC, ESPN, NOVA, CNET, WTHR Eyewitness News and all of the finalists. Complete list here
Doing the right thing, right: Kudos to our friends the Hubbards of Minnesota, one of the first families of wireless. Teaming up with Harvey and Bob Weinstein the Hubbards are buying the Ovation cable network. Their notion is "the arts are a wide-open field" and, of course, they're right. Coverage via The LA Times is here
The distinctive smell of stunt; McGuffin or game-changing innovation? The Emmis Chicago gang bows the new Q101 breakfast show on 9/18, is this pure coincidence? The domain, whatswronginchicago, registered by Emmis on August 9. You decide here
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
"You have reached the pinnacle of success as soon as you become uninterested in money, compliments, or publicity." Thomas Wolfe
$2.5 million a year is said to be the last offer Paramount made to Tom Cruise. Previously he had been paid as much as $10 million per year to cover the overhead related to running his production company. Their agreement was to expire the end of this month, the parties agreed it was over. Sumner Redstone made the announcement and broke the news during a WSJ interview last week. No matter what you think of Cruise, the story here is less about what was done and more about how it was done. Cruise joins the previously departed Messrs Rather and Karmazin. More on the Cruise deal here and Alan Abelson writes "Two things stand out about Mr. Redstone. The first is that he's very good at canning" here (sub req). Brad Grey and Tom Freston deserve(d) better. Gentility and the gentilesse of moguls needs a reboot in Hollywood.
Daniel J. Levitin has written a very cool book - This Is Your Brain on Music...
"Miles Davis famously described his improvisational technique as parallel to the way Picasso described his use of a canvas: The most critical aspect of the work, both artists said, was not the objects themselves, but the space between objects."
The one time musician, sound engineer and record producer is now a neuroscientist. His book is about the science of music. Just into it and it's a good read. Amazon info here
Claude Hall writes...
"...I advocate that most program directors were, indeed, attempting to create something beautiful with their radio stations in the late 50s and 60s and 70s. The proof is that men such as Paul Drew listened to their stations with intense attention.All of the time! Drew, in my opinion, was attempting to create an ideal. Something intensely better than your basic run-of-the-mill radio station.
It is true that a lot of radio programming did not live up to expectations. Some radio stations without question ballyhooed themselves as better than actually existed. The great hype job. This has been true many times in music where utter crap is often promoted as great and in radio programming where crap, habitually and perhaps fortunately in spite of hype, has never survived for long. Regardless, as music reaches artform or at least a higher level of quality, and much of it is far from that, so does the programming of the station that expounds this music. And beyond, perhaps, the music that it plays, the program director takes on the persona of an artist in what he does with the radio programming of that station.
Thus, I have believed for many years that Bill Stewart, Chuck Blore, Bill Young, Charlie Parker, Kent Burkhart, George Wilson, Ron Jacobs, George Williams, Bill Drake, Buzz Bennett and others were, in a sense,artists. Not merely acceptable artists, but often great artists in what they performed. Especially in regards to what they sometimes achieved, even if briefly. The same could be said of countless radio station program directors including George Williams, Gary Allyn, Kahn Hamon, Bill Ward, and especially of men such as J. Robert Wood."
More from Mr. Vox Jox himself, Claude Hall, appearing weekly here
Take care of the fans and the bands, and the business will take care of itself. What a concept, Terry McBride just might be on to something, read all about it here
Monday, August 28, 2006
"All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident." Arthur Schopenhauer
Doing research for an upcoming talk to brand managers and found Duncan's 10th Anniversary issue of American Radio. Lots of fun stuff...
Leading groups - 1977
5. Capital Cities
Leading groups - 1986
1. Capital Cities/ABC
4. RKO (will sell off all stations)
7. Metropolitan (new company)
8. Malrite (relatively young company)
9. Emmis (new company)
10. Infinity (new group owner)
Rankings above were based on 12+ weekly cume.
"In 1977, there were over 25 major national reps and they were owned by 22 different companies. In 1986, there are only 14 major reps and they are owned by just 6 companies."
"The same old bitches prevail: Rate cutting and the lack of professional salesmanship"
-Poor sales training (or none)
-Hugh amounts of inventory, poor inventory management
-Tremendous amounts of competition
-Poor pricing policies
-Turnover of sales people
-Lack of respect for radio
-Lack of pride
"I suspect that almost everyone in the radio industry - even those complaining about these problems - has at one time or the other been guilty of cutting rates."
"In 1976, FM had a 39% audience share and an estimated 20% share of total radio revenue. In 1986, the FM audience share is 69% and estimated revenue share of 71%. For the first time, the revenue share is more than the audience share."
Spring 1976 - WABC - 12+ TSA Cume = 4,880,900, 12+ AQH = 252,300
Spring 1976 - WJBC - 12+ Metro Share = 39.1
Fall 1977 - KFAB - 12+ Cume Rating = 54.3
Spring 1986 - WPLJ - 12+ TSA Cume = 2,901,700, 12+ AQH = 166,900
Spring 1986 - KTRS - 12+ Metro Share = 36.4
Spring 1986 - KTRS - 12+ Cume Rating = 52.0
(Rick Sklar's WABC delivers a 4.8 mil TSA cume and a quarter-hour over one quarter mil - amazing. While Larry Berger's WPLJ was #1 in 12+ TSA Cume in 1986, it was WHTZ that had taken #1 in 12+ AQH with 191,500. In the Fall of 1978 WKTU was #1 in 12+ AQH with 280,200. WBLS was #1 in 12+ AQH in Spring of 1981 with 187,100. In the Fall of 1981, Spring of 1982, Fall of 1982 and Spring of 1983 WOR was #1 in 12+ AQH. - Dave)
James H. Duncan, Jr. did a wonderful job, providing great insights into the radio business. His prose and stats are missed much.
And they all grew up to be president. Congrats and cheers to the new CC prexys. Rob Williams, Greg Ashlock, Earl Jones, Kim Bryant, J.D. Freeman, Manuel Rodriguez, Dave Pugh, Til Levesque, Mick Anselmo, and Mike Kenney.
B&C's Ben Grossman chats up Chris Matthews here
Microsoft Zune empowers DJs...
Zune owners can act as their own DJ, sending streaming music content to up to four other devices, according to documents filed with the Federal Communications Commission . With the device's wireless networking abilities turned on, people can send and receive photos, as well as "promotional copies of songs, albums and playlists," according to the filing, made public Thursday. More via CNET here
Google is a technology company, not a media company. So says the charming Marissa Mayer,
Sunday, August 27, 2006
"Never be afraid to try something new. Remember, an amateur built an ark that survived a flood while a large group of professionals built the Titanic!" William Swanson
Swanson's Unwritten Rules of Management: Unwritten rule number 33...
"Obviously, you need to think before you try something new, and you need to know when to ask for help and expert guidance, but don't talk yourself out of trying something that your heart tells you is within your power to accomplish. Often those less immersed in a field or discipline have the unique perspective that produces the answer."
This reminds me of times when folks turn impossible situations into dramatic successes in large part because they are just "too stupid to know better." One such situation comes to mind. A rookie seller won first place in all three competitions of a first quarter sales contest. Having never before sold media she achieved 1) the highest unit rate. 2) most new business closed (total new dollars and total number of new clients). 3) most packages sold. She set new record highs in all three categories because she failed to understand that doing so was impossible. No seller had ever before taken first place in all three categories. But wait, there's more...she is pacing to end this year far and away the number one seller of online only sales. Again her secret is she fails to understand what her fellow sellers know to be true - no one wants to pay premium rates for online only inventory.
The lesson here is first timers are excellent additions to the team. They can bring the "unique perspective" that Bill Swanson talks about in his Unwritten rule number 33. The great sales trainer and sales development guru Norm Goldsmith was fond of saying "new hires, especially those new to broadcast, are excited about selling, they come to us without knowing what they can't do, accordingly they often produce amazing results in the days and weeks before we 'train' them how to properly sell our product, before they have been informed, educated by our sales veterans regarding what is and is not achievable."
The impossible happens
Each and every day someone makes the impossible "happen." The seller that closes the account that has never before used broadcast or made an online only buy - the very same account every other seller has called on and failed to close for years. The programmer that takes a station from worst to first without changing the so-called "dead format." The affiliate manager that clears 200 stations with a program the major networks all passed on. The morning show that "comes out of nowhere" to take a dominant first place. This time of year my day job has me working with clients to develop next year's business plans. The exciting part of the job is working with folks who have never before participated in budget planning - the ones that clearly don't get it.
As a facilitator or guide in the process I use Wurman's three principles...
1. Learn to accept your ignorance
2. Pay more attention to the question than to the answer
3. Never be afraid to go in an opposite direction to find a solution
A network executive in the city asked me earlier this year...should they hire seasoned veterans or grow their own, hire those without any network experience. My take was grow your own. While it represents the road less traveled and will certainly demand much more of leadership, the upside is practically unlimited. When reviewing these kind of situations my sense is to examine the amount of "unlearning" required. Seasoned vets too often bring baggage, notions regarding what is and what is not possible. The job of leadership is to help the experienced to "unlearn."
How to create a winning business plan
Teams planning for 2007 need to stop focusing on the goal and begin obsessing on the gap.
The question should be "what would have to happen to close the gap?" The gap between where we are on 12/31 (forecast) and where we need to be at the end of next year (projection). That gap might be page views, uniques, ratings, net revenue, local direct, national, new business, whatever. The important part of the exercise is not simply developing assumptions supporting the goal. The important part of the exercise is developing a map of activities and related metrics that will close the gap and deliver the goal. Investing time to subtantiate the goal is the first step. Investing time to create the practical strategies needed to manage activity required to close the gap is the critical second step. On balance it's all about execution. Execution is not about the goal but about the gap.
Learn to say "I don't know"
Invariably the most successful leaders we work with are the ones unafraid to say "I don't know" they tend to also be the people with the best questions. Conversely, those with all the answers tend to also be those who could never imagine themselves saying "I don't know" before a gathering of subordinates. In my experience leaders that foster dissent, encourage the contrarians, and greenlight open, brutally candid discussions are the leaders that win more often than not.
Invite the "unqualified" to participate
Just as first time sellers amaze, so do first time managers. Take a fresh look in your 2007 planning, involve people who fail to understand what is impossible, get the unaffected into the process, ask the opinions of those lacking any informed judgment. Ask sellers what they think of programming and programmers (and talent) what they think of sales.
Dare to be naive, go for greatness.
Friday, August 25, 2006
"In a world where nobody seems to know what's going to happen next, the only thing to do to keep from going completely nuts from frustration is plain old-fashioned work."
"Curiosity about life in all of its aspects, I think, is still the secret of great creative people." Leo Burnett
One of the best hamburgers in the country may be enjoyed in Milwaukee inside the Victorian brownstone that is home to Elsa's on the Park. Citysearch reviewers give the burger a 9.9 out of 10 and I agree with that near-perfect review. Google Maps with reviews here.
Brian Kelly, the music radio maven, suggested Elsa's for lunch. The near-perfect burger was a fine compliment to Brian's perfect take on music programming.
Ever the sedulous programmer, Mr. Kelly's proffer was simple and direct...music programmers are responsible for discovering new music. Waiting for labels alone to suggest or deliver new music is an unacceptable strategy. The charter of a music programmer includes being an advocate for your audience, serving the listeners by being constantly dialed-in to what's happening now. Music stations playing currents are, in fact, in the fashion industry. What is this year's fall fashion in music? What's fresh? cool? tight? In the words of Leo Burnett this involves plain old-fashioned work. It demands a gifted ear. It involves deep emersion, dedicated listening, a passion for discovery, a relentless drive to surprise and delight. A constant hard focused search for the breathtaking! The add as approbation, as spins become encomium.
Over lunch we talked of programmers that add titles without ever hearing them - addition by pure metrics. While perhaps BDS perfect these stations tend to sound a touch sterile, one can almost detect the subtle indications of legerdemain, the white noise feel of a "machine" at work. In contrast, there is something special, something dramatically different about music stations programmed by people who love music. There is some ineffable "x factor" at work that gives these stations a certain magic, a jouisance clearly in evidence on the listener side of the radio. In programming (as in political campaigns, retail, et al) contrast is everything. When the contrast becomes palpable, the empathy driving it visceral, then the contrast becomes a powerful force of nature. This is one of the elements at work behind the scenes at every great music radio station.
Brian cited a perfect example. Gym Class Heroes. Their tune "Cupid's Chokehold" does not enjoy the advantages of being "worked." It's a priority to no one but Brian because...Brian's listeners love it. Cupid's Chokehold is one of those tunes...nobody loves it but the listeners and their advocate, one very bright programmer who does business on the listener side of the radio.
Programming a music station? What is your new music rule set? What is your solution set for staying slightly ahead of your audience? How exactly are you creating contrast? If you will allow use of a military metaphor here please let me invoke the words of Thomas M.P. Barnett and suggest that what is needed now is "less Clausewitz, more Sun Tzu." This is precisely the approach that Brian has put into play to wonderful positive result.
My thanks to Brian for introducing me to Elsa's and to Gym Class Heroes and for his spot-on refresher on "listening." His radio station, 103.7 KISS FM, sounds great and they're now streaming so check them out.
Bonus: What really matters most? Scobleizer says...
I’ll tell you what executives from big companies (like Kraft, Procter and Gamble, GM, and others) who were at MSN’s OWN ADVERTISING CONFERENCE told me. An influencer is worth THOUSANDS of times more than a non-influencer (influencer is someone who tells other people stuff, which is why blogging is getting so much advertising attention lately). That’s why Google is charging more per click than MSN is (Google has more influential users).
Bravo Robert! Read his entire post here
Tony Malara has passed, a great loss. Knowing him from his days with CBS Tony had a special charm and grace, an ability to light up any room. Tony was a gentleman, he worked to help others and served as the voluble, implacable, affable and gregarious host of rituals for the Broadcasters' Foundation. His upstate NY swagger tempered by years in the A-list orbits of the city, Tony made things happen with an alacrity, brio and warmth all his very own. Beloved broadcaster, husband, father and grandfather. At this past spring's NAB Tony presided over the Broadcast Pioneer's breakfast, as usual, he left us laughing, feeling good, wanting more. He will be missed.
The Katie Couric crew is doing dry runs for the new 6:30 show and they're using an opening with vo by Walter Cronkite. Sept 5 is the debut, we'll have to wait to see if Walter's work makes the final.
Thursday, August 24, 2006
"We take in electronically mediated auditory and visual information as part of our life process. It is part of our immediate physical surround, and we sit in it, absorbing information constantly. The vital question to be posed in formulating a new theory of communication is: What are the characteristics of the process whereby we organize, store, and act upon the patterned information that is constantly flowing into our brain? Further, given these processes, how do we tune communication to achieve the desired effect for someone creating a message?"
"A listener or viewer brings far more information to the communication event than a communicator can put into his program, commercial, or message. The communicator's problem, then, is not to get stimuli across, or even to package his stimuli so they can be understood and absorbed. Rather, he must deeply understand the kinds of information and experiences stored in his audience, the patterning of this information, and the interactive resonance process whereby stimuli evoke this stored information....in communicating at electronic speed, we no longer direct information into an audience, but try to evoke stored information out of them, in a patterned way." Tony Schwartz
Preparing a talk for brand managers in Helsinki, I revisited the work of audio guru Tony Schwartz. Leading me to then review some materials from the 1970s including a monograph by Trout & Reis on the power of audio. The subject of my talk became...Which is more powerful, the eye or the ear? Jack Trout writes...
"To obtain a more objective viewpoint on the subject, we spoke with Dr. Elizabeth Loftus of the University of Washington, a psychologist, teacher, researcher and author of more than eight books and 100 articles on the human mind and how it works. When we asked her which is superior, the eye or the ear, this was her reply:
'In many ways, the ear is superior to the eye. What I mean by that is that there is evidence from controlled laboratory studies that shows that when you present a list of works to people, and you present it either auditorily, say on a tape recorder, or you present it visually, say on slides, people remember more words if they hear the words than if they see them.'
In the book I wrote with Al Ries, Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind, we said: "The name is the hook that hangs the brand on the product ladder in the prospect’s mind." Now we know why. Apparently, thinking itself involves the manipulation of sounds deep inside the brain--even when the stimulus is purely visual, as with printed words.
WiIliam Shakespeare was wrong: A rose by any other name would not smell as sweet! Not only do you see what you want to see, you also smell what you want to smell. That is why the single most important decision in the marketing of a perfume is the name." The entire article by Trout (close to a Cliff Notes version of the original monograph) may be found, thanks to Forbes, hereThen I was reminded of Wurman's First Law: "You only learn something relative to something you understand." Learning experts refer to this as "apperception" a concept based on the work of John Locke. Morris Bigge writing in Learning Theories for Teachers defines apperception as "a process where new ideas associate themselves with old ones that already constitute a mind."
My renewed interest in these most basic issues of communication theory came as a result of a lunch in Milwaukee. A lunch with a remarkable person who has the gift of a "remarkable ear". I'll share the story, and the lesson learned, or re-learned, in my next post.
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
"Debrouillard is what every plongeur wants to be called. A debrouillard is a man who, even when he is told to do the impossible, will se debrouiller - get it done somehow."
"He was a master of the short cut, the easy way out, the System D. D stands for de as in debrouiller or demerder - to extricate...and to a hair (he) knew how to stay out of trouble." Nicholas Freeling
System D is the opening chapter of the most recent Anthony Bourdain writing - The Nasty Bits. He writes...
"Whether familiar with the term or not, I have always assigned great value to debrouillards, and at various times in my career, particularly when I was a line cook, I have taken great pride in being one. The ability to think fast, to adapt, to improvise when in danger of falling "in the weeds" or dans la merde, even if a little corner-cutting is required, has been a point of pride with me for years."
"...even one heroic practitioner of System D can save the day, step in and turn the tide. One guy can make the difference between another successful Saturday night and total chaos."
System D is alive and well in media a game where one person can make a significant difference, one person can turn around a situation. A talent, an EP, a show runner, a programmer, there are times when all it takes is one person to make a difference. But you need that one person. That's the part that some folks don't get. MSNBC needs that one person. CNBC needs that one person. CNN needs that one person. FreeFM needs that one person. The first time I met Les Moonves I knew he was the person that would fix the network, he's got entertainment down cold and you can sense it. In some situations what you need is a gun and nothing short of engaging one of the best and brightest will deliver the needed remedy. Look for and hire the tie breakers, the play makers, the game-changing champions. Hiring the one right person beats hiring five or ten of the wrong people and that happens to be true only 100% of the time. Get your System D person on board and start winning.
Today's image is from Tisvet, via the Isthmus Pool at Flickr. My thanks to Tisvet! Another beautiful summer here in Madison.
Monday, August 21, 2006
"Who's going to pay Garry?" Steve Dahl
Last Friday CBS Radio's Steve Dahl held a clinic on good radio. Live, local, engaging.
Broadcasting on location from Chicago's Oak Street Beach during rehearsals for the annual Air & Water Show, Steve stage managed an ensemble of talent, musicians, show guests, press, listeners, sponsors, producer staff, and station management all the while hosting an impromptu historic reunion with former sidekick Garry Meier.
No surprise the broadcast was the media story of the weekend. Congrats and kudos to Garry (great to hear Cliff again). Bravos to Steve, brilliant!
Visit Steve on the web here, check out pics from the Friday show here, audio of the show, via MP3, here CBS Radio's FreeFM initiative, often the target of negative chatter (to paraphrase Christopher Hitchens "they have miles to go before they achieve mediocrity"), deserves high praise in this case; Drew Hayes and CBS are doing exactly the right thing in supporting Steve Dahl. Steve's work is simply exemplary.
FreeFM colleague and NBC5 star Bob Sirott devotes his "One more thing" package to Steve & Garry and wraps with the line "could somebody please work on getting Dick Biondi back on the air." Well said Bob!
CBS Radio gets it 2: 1010WINS.com seeks a senior web producer. The job description says it all here.
CBS Radio gets it 3: R&R's Paul Heine interviews Kevin Weatherly, Kevin says...
“The other thing is, a lot of people outside of L.A. think [the station’s success] is an aberration: ‘It’s Southern California, it’s K-Roq.’ But it doesn’t happen by accident. The common thing we all share is everyone is extremely passionate and really cares about K-Roq and what we do. The bar is set really high. We never stop, we probably don’t stop enough to enjoy what we do ‘cause we’re always looking for the next thing. We’re never satisfied. We’re always trying to challenge ourselves and keep this thing going-to make sure it really stays as special and, you know, continues to be a part of the Southern California landscape.” Read the interview here
Congrats and cheers to Paul - well done!
Google CEO wants $74 billion TV ad market by ZDNet's Donna Bogatin -- Google CEO Eric Schmidt believes television viewers should not have to stand for tv commercials that are “a waste of your time.” What does he plan to do about it?
Why Katie Couric will be a brilliant failure...Jon Friedman opines on the fate of the new CBS Evening News show, yet unseen, over at MarketWatch. My money remains on Les, Sean and Katie. Jon misses the point - setting the standard for success as taking first away from NBC's Nightly. Nonsense, it's not an all or nothing game Jon, you know better. Closing the gap on second and then taking second would be a very significant victory. Moreover, it's not only possible but probable. Read Friedman's piece here
Friday, August 18, 2006
"Cultivate the habit of boiling matters down to the simplest terms: the proverbial 'elevator speech' is the best way." William Swanson
Swanson's Unwritten Rules of Management: unwritten rule number 20...
"Pretend that you've got to make your case to someone in the time it takes to ride on an elevator. Assume that you may never have this chance to make your case again.
How would you start? How would you conclude? What points would you emphasize? What points would you hold in reserve, as backup?
Time is the discipline of the elevator speech. Space is the discipline of having to put all of your key points on one 3-by-5-inch card. Both disciplines require you to get to the point and focus on what action you're asking for.
Often it's best to get right to the conclusion and have your explanatory charts in reserve to address concerns or questions, if raised. Always ask yourself: Have I made the business case? What action do I seek? You'd be amazed how many times presenters don't do this."
More wise counsel from Bill Swanson.
Bonus: Torey and his team have a secret...to share. Check it out here. Bravo to Torey, Ron and all involved, as Hitch was fond of saying "when you want to create suspense provide the audience with information", well played.
Bonus 2: Don't even think about it. Get your own very cool Writely account today. Google has opened registration again, sign-up here
One of those late summer Fridays filled with deadlines, no more blogging today. Have a great weekend!
Thursday, August 17, 2006
"I am only an entertainer who has understood his time." Picasso
"The artistic temperament is a disease that afflicts amateurs." G.K. Chesterton
"The structure of a play is always the story of how the birds came home to roost." Arthur Miller
Chad Brown named president of Katz Radio. Mark Gray up to president of Katz Radio Group. More examples of why Stu Olds is the very best mind and finest leader working in representation. KRG release, via word doc, here Congrats and cheers to Chad and Mark. Bravo to Stu!
Staci Kramer puts forward her best guess. The TimesSelect product has "about 139,400 full-paying subs representing about $6.9 million in revenues annually." Staci shares another interesting stat, the number of academic half-priced subs...less than 2% by her estimate. More here at paidContent.
Superjock speaks: Uncle Lar tells Robert Feder...
"Given the fact that I am still charming, still delightful, and still blessed with the God-given ability to pleasure the listeners in every conceivable way, you would think that some station manager would be eager to throw money at me. But with the idiots running radio stations these days, who knows?"
Idiots indeed. More via Robert Feder, Fired 'Superjock' still has a lot to say, in today's Chicago Sun-Times here
During my Chicago days I was asked to serve as EP for the then annual Windy awards dinner. I was blessed to have Uncle Lar accept the invitation to be our MC. Larry did a masterful job, his pitch perfect performance had the jaded crowd engaged and entertained. Larry made the evening memorable and fun for every presenter, winner and all attending. Uncle Lar also managed to make the event a complete joy for this EP and my crew - the evening was a smash thanks to the casual tone set by Larry (it was a pleasure to be along for the ride).
Who will tell the boss he sucks? Michael Eisner posted 18,000 viewers (25-54, 8pm) this past Tuesday on his CNBC show. His lead, OTM, pulled 41,000. About as close as one can get to having no viewing at all. What to do? Start with a stronger show runner, better coaching of Michael and either theme the show to tie the multiple guest shots or let him run with one guest for the duration. One hour with Dick Parsons would have worked this week if Michael had been prepared and coached with the right questions. An hour "behind the scenes" with Jimmy Kimmel would also have played well. The segment with Billy Crystal was gratuitous and as it led it perhaps killed any potential for the show to hold lead-in. Going forward the show has to either change or die.
Happy trails. Emmis gets out of the Country in LA, debuts the "Movin" format in the southland. The move reunites consultant Allan Burns with Emmis (the smart money says Jon Coleman is also likely involved somehow). Emmis also inks radio star Rick Dees marking his third round at an LA breakfast show (KHJ and KIIS previously). Congrats to Rick, Emmis and Allan & company their new format now up and running in two major markets. LATER - thanks for the emails. Guy Zapoleon is the COR, Emmis has worked out a license w/AB to use the Movin brand name. No word yet on who is doing the research.
Pay radio, one or none time? A review of the numbers along with a reasonable assumption or two about the coming months (more bad news) seems to indicate Mel better pick up the phone and save the day (and his job). The road ahead for the pay radio folks appears to be just plain ugly. Making things happen with regulatory is not one of Mel's skills but knowing that he is smart enough to engage folks that can make his case. Charlie, Candy and Rupert will pave the way, watch.
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
"It is not the parts that matter, it is their combination." Vladimir Nabokov
"To interest is the first duty of art; no other excellences will ever begin to compensate for failure in this, and very serious faults will be covered by this, as by charity." C.S. Lewis
"There is a moment when every work in the process of being created benefits from the glamour attaching to uncompleted sketches. 'Don't touch it any more' cries the amateur. It is then that the true artist takes his chance." Jean Cocteau
"Try again. Fail again. Fail better." Samuel Beckett
Jay Rosen makes it official and so the era of "networked journalism" begins. First up, congressional earmarks. Jay asks "Why is this project a significant marker in Web journalism?"
It’s trying to bring new facts to light: “which members of Congress sponsored the 1,867 secret spending earmarks worth more than $500 million in the Labor-Health and Human Services appropriation bill now before Congress.” That information is a secret right now.
Get involved or, in the least, follow the project. Share the following link with your news shop and favorite news hounds. Bravo Jay! More here
"To succeed sooner, fail faster." Martin's Third Rule of Innovation. One of the best practices of innovation being put to work in Chicago by a pubcaster. Chicago Public Radio's Torey Malatia greenlights a new approach to radio programming - excellent coverage by Margaret Lyons writing at Time Out Chicago...
“What if we had no shows? With no packaged components?” Malatia asks, describing how he came up with the strategy. He and vice president for programming Ron Jones hammered out some more ideas about ways to radically change the sound, content and essential qualities of public radio. He tapped a small group of CPR employees—producers, marketers, a fund-raiser—to get the ball rolling. “It seemed kind of unworkable when I handed it off,” Malatia says. But his group is now in the final process of making this unworkable plan a website, a radio station and a community.“You won’t hear typical hour-long programs,” says Josh Andrews, a producer for CPR and team captain of what’s about to happen to 89.5 FM. As far as Andrews is concerned, we won’t hear typical anything. No one really knows what you’ll hear on 89.5 FM come April 2007 (if everything goes according to schedule, which is a big if).
Congrats and kudos to Torey, Ron and all involved. Read the entire article, Making Waves, here
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
"Our main business is not to see what lies dimly at a distance, but to do what lies clearly at hand." Thomas Carlyle
Robert Cyran says reaching the restless digital natives via media partnerships (e.g., Google & MySpace) might work but two problems remain...
Second, social sites have had a tough time converting eyeballs into cash. True, News Corp has extracted a large amount of cash from MySpace by directing associated search traffic through Google. It remains to be seen if Google can turn MySpace traffic into profits. If it can't, the odds of old media quelling the digital unrest look poor. Cyran's commentary, Media companies losing control, via MarketWatch here
400 year death spiral continues: The dead tree guys have another reason for concern. Google is getting into the business of retail coupons via Google Maps. Using the same intuitiveness that led Microsoft Office Live to make the brilliant offer of free websites to small business owners, now Google offers merchants free coupons. What makes both the Office Live and Google offerings so attractive is a deep understanding of small business. Google's coupon initiative demonstrates a respect for the raw economic power of the coupon shopper and an acknowledgement; one of the strongest appeals of dead tree advertising is the tangible and merchants love tangible.
From today's WSJ...
Starting today, businesses that want to offer coupons will be able to go to the Local Business Center area of Maps -- the place where businesses can provide up-to-date information about themselves -- and enter information about their special offers and upload an image. The coupons can be printed out and then redeemed at stores, making them useful to small businesses that don't have online stores.
"It's completely free for the merchant and the user," said Gokul Rajaram, director of product management at Google. "Whatever the [sales] conversion rate, it's going to be a big win for the merchant."
Because their use is so easily tracked, the coupons could also help to convince small businesses that advertising online, including on Google Maps, is effective and worthwhile.Google, like Microsoft, will create a market. What Microsoft and Google have done is nothing short of revolutionary, they have refused to accept the inviolability of the dead tree revenue engines. Moreover, like any good chess player, they are playing ahead of the game. Bravo and cheers to the Google gang, scary smart move! Riva Richmond provides an excellent overview in today's WSJ (sub req) here
Closed circuit to broadcast sales management: The lesson here is "Ambient Findability" Q.E.D., please see Peter Morville
Barry Diller makes another smooth move acquiring 51% of Connected Ventures LLC, owners of CollegeHumor.com. IAC/InterActive Corp already owns Ticketmaster, Ask.com, CitySearch, and Evite. Congrats to CV founders Josh Abramson and Ricky Van Veen who stay on as minority owners. Cheers to IAC's Michael Jackson. Diller & Jackson make a great team and IAC is the team to watch.
Monday, August 14, 2006
"Every day one should at least hear one little song, read one good poem, see one fine painting and - if at all possible - speak a few sensible words." Goethe
Kevin Weatherly, the CBS Radio programming wizard of Calabasas makes the cut. Congrats and cheers to Kevin on being named one of The West 100, the LA Times list of the most powerful people in southern California...
The most powerful rock signal west of the Mississippi is KROQ, and Weatherly, in an era of blandly calculated playlists and national uniformity, is one of the last true hit makers in radio. Whether it was Sublime in the 1990s or the Killers now, KROQ relies on Weatherly's instinct for picking the next star.
Others on the list...Philip Anschutz, Jerry Bruckheimer, Haim Saban, N. Christian Anderson III, Dean Baquet, Harry "Skip" Brittenham, David Geffen, Stanley Gold, Nick Haque, Alan Horn, Robert Iger, Steve "Jonesey" Jones, KFI's John & Ken, Mark Lisanti, Sam Nazarian, Alexandra Patsavas, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Nancy Silverton, Emily Simonitsch, Eddie"Piolin" Sotelo, and Caroline Styne. Check out the complete list here (free rr) Congrats to all!
NAHJ announces journo winners: Ernesto Schweikert owner of New Orleans' KGLA Radio Tropical named Broadcast Journalist of the Year. Tony Delgado, shooter at Houston's KHOU named Photojournalist of the Year. Congrats each and all. Complete winner's list here
Period, amen. Steve Safran gets it...
If you want to win over your local market website war, have the best local information in town, period.
The quality and depth of information will keep the folks coming back, not a platform here or there.
Steve comments, a part of the Allison Romano writing about local dead tree guys via The Paper Chase, B&C here Well said Steve, job well done Allison!
Another thing pay radio can't do...Congrats to WTMX's Eric & Kathy, in 36 hours their radiothon for Children's Memorial Hospital raised $2,249,496.78....another great success by the Bonneville station that has changed Chicago radio for the better. Kudos to uber-mensch Drew Horowitz for leading the way. One station, one DMA, one very big difference, and yet another example of something pay radio just can't do.
Jeff Jarvis asks...Is writing the highest form of speech? Bravo Jeff. A good piece here
Friday, August 11, 2006
"What if we started to try new things, even in small doses, just to see how they might work? Or allowed ourselves to veer from the expected, rejecting the 'that's the way we always do it' argument just once?" Lisa Seward
From Lisa's writing "Summer-ize Your Thoughts" in MediaPost's Media (Aug 06). The rock star media director of Fallon, Minneapolis goes on to imagine some "pretty cool stuff"...
1. Maybe we'd see targets defined by something more meaningful than demographics.
2. Maybe we'd all accept that the best media idea doesn't always fit neatly on a flowchart.
3. Maybe more media people would become creative problem solvers instead of "ad placers."
4. Maybe we'd drop our fixation on finding "the" answer and finally replace black-box tools with genuinely inspired thinking.
Maybe we can all learn something from Lisa. Bravo Lisa, well done!
Years ago, I was asked to give a talk at an AWRT lunch. My topic was "The Three M Approach to Marketing - Message, Media and Moment". It seemed to me that most creative folks were focused on message and media but had not thought about "the moment" when the message is delivered. For decades now we have suggested that clients roadblock radio after fireworks, major sporting and concert events. The "late night" or weekend avails are always there, the price totally sweet, and judging from years of next day recall research, the LOI is simply exceptional. When you get the message and media right it's all about the moment.
CBS Radio looking for a person that will be dedicated to working with station teams on all PPM issues. Trained by Arbitron, working for CBS. Smart, very smart.
Niall Kennedy is leaving Microsoft, the dude has skills. Next stop? His own startup. Cheers Niall and all the best!
Thursday, August 10, 2006
"The most precious gift a designer can give a client is the gift of someone else's time...The best way to win time for the message is to offer something that intrigues. Then the recipient is seduced into making a commitment. Someone who is intrigued will stay with the item until curiosity is satisfied. So the first benefit of witty design is that the recipient becomes willing to hear the message. The audience becomes captive. The communication has the best possible start." McAlhone & Stuart
The above taken from the book A Smile in the Mind by Beryl McAlhone and David Stuart, highly recommended (Amazon info here).
In preparing a presentation on creativity I found the writing of Beryl and David to be spot-on...
"Interactivity" is the buzz term for today...witty graphics have been interactive since the days of the long-playing record. The designer sets up an open not a closed system.
For example, most signs are straightforward, like "Fire Exit" or "No Parking". What about a sign that gives the information in a witty way? Suppose it says "No Parking - don't even think about it"? This is a message with more than one layer. It acknowledges that not all drivers will simply go off and look for another space. Some people see the message, read the message, think about the message and decide to ignore the message. The "don't-even-think-about-it" sign accompanies that thought process, as it were. Then, as the mind considers the options, the sign makes a second hit. This is one aspect of participation, predicting and entering the dialogue.
Another aspect of participation is making demands on the audience. Imagine that there is a clothesline which stretches from the designer sending the communication to the person receiving it. If the communication is merely "Fire Exit", the designer comes 100% along the clothesline, and the person at the other end doesn't have to move an inch. It is the same with any piece of straight information - it expects a passive recipient.
But when wit is involved, the designer never travels 100% of the way. The idea has to be "seen" or decoded, and this demands an active recipient. The audience may need to travel only 5% or as much as 40% toward the designer to unlock the puzzle and get the idea. Wit invites participation because it asks the reader or viewer to take part in the communication of the idea. It is as if the designer throws a ball which then has to be caught. So the recipient is alert, with an active mind and a brain in gear."
Can you "discover" the arrow in the FedEx logo above? A good example of wit at work in design. The majority of folks attending my last two talks on creativity had never noticed the arrow before. More from McAlhone and Stuart...
With a witty design, it is the recipient who makes the necessary act of completion. This response is based on intellectual curiosity. The urge to understand, according to Arthur Koestler, is derived from an urge as basic as hunger or sex...The urge to complete something can be witnessed in many ordinary activities. Have you ever sat up late at night watching a throughly mediocre film on TV? You don't want to watch it. You know you are wasting your time. You'd prefer to be in bed. But you need to know how it turned out. The incomplete asks to be completed.
People like to make a contribution. The advertising thinker Jeremy Bullmore expressed very cogently the benefits of giving the audience a role: 'Involvement seems to me to be everything in communication. If I do everything as the sender, the only thing left for the receiver to do is to refute it. Because the only contribution you can make is to disagree with me.'
He believes that all good storytellers, all good comedians, all good makers of advertising 'entice their receivers into willing and constructive collaboration. It's a skillful, delicate and difficult thing to do - particularly in advertising where the pressures of committees and cost tend to favour the "explicit", the "unambiguous", the "message which just can't fail to be understood".
But of course the explicit and the unambiguous shut out the recipient. Wit always asks for a contribution.
This lesson has strong practical applications. The first place to introduce the concept of involvement is in your station branding, your positioning, your value messaging. In concert with a well crafted tease, engaging the imagination, the participation of your listener/viewer is a powerful and most effective tool.
"The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and self-restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it." Theodore Roosevelt
Wednesday, August 09, 2006
"I'm proud to have been the jock who flipped the switch at 6a.m. on a brisk October morning in 1949 and greeted the day with a hearty 'Good morning, Atlanta! We are here!'" Jockey Jack Gibson
With those words Jockey Jack signed on the nation's first black-owned radio station, WERD in Atlanta. Jockey Jack went on to WLOU, "Louisville Lou", in Louisville and a success filled storied career in broadcast, publishing and music. Jockey Jack Gibson is but one of the real legends of broadcasting that have not yet been properly recognized. "The Ole Swing Master" Al Benson, Jack L. Cooper, Nat D. Williams, Martha Jean "The Queen" Steinberg, Vy Higgenson, and Lucky Cordell, among others, also deserve recognition. While I have great respect for Bruce DuMont and his many efforts in creating The Museum of Broadcast Communications and the National Radio Hall of Fame, it is my suggestion that the legends of Black Radio are not at all fairly represented in the Radio Hall of Fame. Moreover, the RHF has also failed to properly recognize pioneers of format radio, legends including Todd Storz, Bill Stewart, Chuck Blore, Ron Jacobs, Robert W. Morgan, Ruth Meyer, George Wilson and Bill Drake. Please join me in writing to Bruce DuMont about these issues. RHF contact info is here
First impressions: It only takes a minute to think it through, one minute to put yourself on the receiving side of the email, however, few do. All of us share a common problem - spam, the unwelcomed communication that makes checking email a daily chore. So it would seem that R&R has shared their subscriber email data base with new owner VNU, how else to account for yesterday's email from Billboard Radio Monitor subject Radio News. First email ever from Billboard Radio Monitor, never signed up for any BRM email alerts so that would make their email...Spam. A smarter approach would have been to email me, the R&R subscriber, inviting me to opt-in and enjoy the cool new daily Radio News email. A missed opportunity. Which reminds me we near the time when Eric Rhodes will again begin flogging his Harvard Club meeting via his weekly arduous countdown spam. There is a much more effective approach, a creative solution. It only takes a minute.
WSJ's John Jurgensen names names in his well written Moguls of New Media piece here
Viacom buys Atom Entertainment for $200 mil, smart move, WSJ coverage here (sub req)
Tuesday, August 08, 2006
"What helps luck is a habit of watching for opportunities, of having a patient, but restless mind, of sacrificing one's ease or vanity, of uniting a love of detail to foresight, and of passing through hard times bravely and cheerfully." Victor Cherbulies We managers are not compensated to create the most comfortable environment, nor are we paid to create a team of clones who all think alike. We are obligated to assess what our real market needs are, and to do everything in our power to fulfill them. That may mean going outside our comfort zone, or the comfort zone of our staff, but it should be clear to all involved that the motivation and expectation behind those recruitment campaigns is to bring us someone who will shake up the place. Change can be good; in fact it can be the best thing if it keeps all of us sharp and aggressive.
"One of the strongest characteristics of genius is the power of lighting its own fire." John Foster
"One pound of learning requires ten pounds of common-sense to apply it." Persian proverb
"Conversation should be pleasant without scurrility, witty without affectation, free without indecency, learned without conceitedness, novel without falsehood." Shakespeare
UW Terrace photo by Kelly Hafermann via Flickr Isthmus pool Thanks!
Lewis Lazare reviews the Fallon & Senn book "Juicing the Orange"...
If we have a bone to pick with Fallon and Senn regarding their book, it's with the way they constantly bandy about that loaded word "creativity."
Of course ad agencies must be creative to succeed. But we would suggest the advertising they produce, if it's going to succeed, also must be smart, rather than the wildly undisciplined mess that passes for creativity at too many ad agencies today. Well said Lew, bravo! Lew is a must-read for any serious student of marketing and advertising. Get more of Lew's view here
Congrats and cheers to Scott Shannon on his induction into the Radio Hall of Fame. Scott has certainly earned this honor, he truly deserves the recognition. Beyond his considerable gifts as a programmer, Scott is also a brilliant performer and a gentleman. Other 2006 inductees include Douglas Edwards, Christopher Glenn, John Hare and William B. Williams.
Young turk, rising star dept: Chris Corcoran of XRadio promoted to Vice President of Affiliate Management, Dial Global Programming. Very smart move, Chris is the goods. Congrats to Chris.
Mike Kinosian interviews Tim Dukes programming wizard in residence at Emmis' WLUP...
...an aggressive, pomp and pageantry three-dimensional radio station. That’s what a Rock station has to be in order to truly survive
Tim is one of the best programmers in the biz, his finest hour yet to come. Read the entire Inside Radio interview here
Erica Farber interviews the always interesting Mark Masters...
If you have great intellectual range and great emotional range, you can emote on behalf of the audience. You get emotionally naked in front of the microphone, and the speakers disappear. And when the speakers disappear you create a relationship. Without emotional and intellectual range, it’s just facts and data.
Few understand talent as Mark does. The Mark Masters Publishers Profile may be found here
Craig Newmark steps up and offers insight into his latest ventures, here Bravo Craig!
Technorati sez: There are now 175,000 new blogs each day (my thanks to you for reading this humble blog), more via CNET here
Bonus: The Gallop Poll rates television news and talk personalities...
The net favorable (favorable minus unfavorable) findings:
Diane Sawyer +69
Charles Gibson +47
Matt Lauer +45
Dan Rather +44
Regis Philbin +43
Bob Schieffer +41
Brian Williams +40
Barbara Walters +38
Katie Couric +37
Anderson Cooper +34
Meredith Vieira +29
Lou Dobbs +28
Larry King +27
Bill O'Reilly +10
Three of the personalities tested posted net negative ratings, Geraldo Rivera -23, Star Jones -26 and Rosie O'Donnell -28. You may review the data with narrative here
All the news that fits online: Yahoo continues strong lead. comScore Media Metrix has released findings of an online news study. Yahoo posted 31.2 million unique visitors in June representing a 13% increase in year-over-year growth. MSNBC placed with 23.4 mil visitors, down 14% from a year ago. AOL showed 20.4 mil, down 2% while CNN served up 19.9 mil, down 6%. Story via MediaPost here
Peter Smyth writes and gets it 100% right, my thanks to Lee Arnold for the pointer...
Managers often fall into the trap of not hiring people who are "too smart" or "too aggressive". That's a direct reflection on the insecurity of the manager, and will, sooner or later, reduce the station's effectiveness in the marketplace. Another potential mistake is hiring the friend or acquaintance just because they are a known quantity, even if they may not be the best candidate for the job. More management blinders at work.
We managers are not compensated to create the most comfortable environment, nor are we paid to create a team of clones who all think alike. We are obligated to assess what our real market needs are, and to do everything in our power to fulfill them. That may mean going outside our comfort zone, or the comfort zone of our staff, but it should be clear to all involved that the motivation and expectation behind those recruitment campaigns is to bring us someone who will shake up the place. Change can be good; in fact it can be the best thing if it keeps all of us sharp and aggressive.