Wednesday, March 14, 2007

"We have more power than will; and it is only to exculpate ourselves that we often say that things are impracticable." La Rochefoucauld

The inconvenient truth:
Almost daily we hear, see or read something that suggests today's teenagers are using media in dramatically different ways. True. We are living in a dramatically different media world. Nothing stops technology and the velocity of change is incredible, at times even difficult to fully grasp. What has not changed is the teen appetite for new. Like those who went before them they make the hits and make them fresh daily. The container always less important than the content, the technology becoming transparent. Their iPod, cell and computer compliment their other audio and video behaviors. First generation wireless is actually alive and well. It is not, as some have suggested, that teens no longer listen to the radio, they do. It is that not many in the trade are dedicating themselves to committing great radio for the youth market. There are notable exceptions. Brian Kelly is making it happen. He's the goods, one of the best radio programming chiefs working today; Brian's stations are fresh, engaging, arresting, entertaining and just plain fun to listen to. For those who may harbor the illusion that teens no longer listen to radio may I present the facts. Exhibit A: In the Spring 06 Arbitron, Kelly's station, Milwaukee's 1037 KISS FM (WXSS) delivered a 57.8 teen cume rating. In fact, a trending of each Fall sweep since 2003 reveals his teen cume rating has increased each and every year! MySpace. Station site. But wait...there's more. His team has cool vids on YouTube, to wit: this 100K+ views video and his latest "Tix in a box." Brian Kelly gets it, check out his stuff. All that's important is what's on the screen(s) and what's coming out of the speakers, everything else is a footnote.

Congrats & cheers: Jay Rosen launches AssignmentZero. "Pro-am journalism opens on the web" Bravo! WaPo's Joel Achenbach blogs the backstory here. Another music site debut, check out here.

Your copier remembers: AP tech writer May Wong writes Your New ID-Theft Worry? Photocopiers via Wired here.

Things may appear larger than they really are: Today, many years ago, the great Bill Hartman and I took the shuttle to the city for a meeting at 90 Park. Our suggestion was to stop playing music and take WBZ 100% spoken word, 100% talent driven service, information and entertainment. Our proposal was 100% rejected. It was the brilliant Jimmy Yergin who weighed in on our side "The twelve hours you are doing talk is killing the twelve hours you are playing music, the reverse also holds true. Your successful evening sports talk program is killing your midday music show." Our corporate "angels" (as Bill called them) said as long as WHDH and WRKO were playing music we needed to play music and besides AM stereo was going to change everything and make us equal in fidelity to those FM stations. It was the story of WKTU and WABC that got the attention of our angels. Back in the day Mediastat issued a monthly ratings report. WKTU, an FM station playing disco, became #1 in the monthly report. The considered opinion of our corporate team was disco was the new rock n roll, WKTU's success a watershed. Tastes in popular music had been reset. It was 1955 all over again. Some execs at ABC jumped to the same conclusion and changed the music approach of WABC. Acting to preempt others ABC changed their Chicago FM from rock to disco; if ABC's WLS was to be hurt by an FM station it would be by their own FM station. The myth of first mover advantage. Being first is not important, being the first to get it right wins the race.

Bonus: My $100 Million Dollar Secret by David Weinberger