Thursday, January 31, 2008

"If you want to be here, you need to fight for your dreams." Paulo Coelho

"Obstacles never come from below but from those who never managed to reach the top and are blocking the way." Marcel Bealu

"One doesn't discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time." Andre Gide

Image: giallo by grazie, davvero. Wonderful. Thank you very much.

From TED 07, Professor Ben Dunlap tells the amazing story of Sandor Teszler

Italian red: Rosso Salento 2005. Negroamaro 70%, Primitivo 30%. A good value under $10.

Congrats & cheers: Live from LA - Five CEOs discuss the status and future of audio-anchored advertising. A program presented by (think)LA and SCBA. Moderated by Kyle Acquistapace, EVP, Deutsch/LA. Get info on the webcast here

John Hogan, Dan Mason, Jeff Smulyan, Gary Stone, Farid Suleman. Alfred Liggins scheduled to appear did not. Following is live blogging, an attempt to get close to what was said while missing stuff, getting some things wrong, incomplete etc. I reserve my right to amend, revise, extend. Apologies for not being even close to exact here...

Opening round:

John led the group. He feels there is a disconnect between the perception and the reality of radio effectiveness and relevance. Trouble with slides (ouch).

Dan framed his comments by talking about engagement, passion and excitement. Dan is excited about the coming world of PPM and the new buying tools that Arbitron will debut this summer. He speaks of the power of radio to engage. He talks about the incredible lift, increase in reach that the meter reveals vs the antiquated paper diary. Dan gave some great examples of radio's powerful influence, blood drives, alerting folks to important news during an emergency, he singled out WWL and praised them for their service during Katrina. Dan said his first car had an 8 track but he still listened to radio, later he had a cassette deck and listened to radio, then a CD player, then a CD juke box changer, now Sat radio, MP3/ipod connection and he always listened to radio and still does everyday just like the majority of Americans.

Jeff shared that while the total percentage of population listening to radio weekly is down slightly, the total numbers listening are up (increase in population). Jeff's sense is tagging is the next killer app. He sees a day when there is a radio in every device, every phone and PDA and he says the industry is committed to making it happen.

Gary talked about the incredible and rapid growth of Latino radio, and Latino media. Media is important in the lifestyle of his audience, a part of the fabric of everyday.

Farid's opening comment was to indicate he agreed with those before him and would rather not put everyone to sleep with a repetitive rehash. Bravos to Farid for having the courage to tell the truth - radio has hurt radio. When radio should have been focusing on developing solutions for advertisers we were busy, as a consequence of consolidation he says, trying to take the business away from the other radio guy.

Major theme: Perhaps the most common of all themes cited - radio having a problem of "perception" vs reality. Dan said if he heard one more negative comment about radio he would turn into a werewolf. Jeff spoke about the industry working on a common initiative to reposition radio and change perceptions. Gary feels that radio sellers have been beaten down by buyers since 2001 and might be buying into some unfair and negative perceptions. He said sellers need to get more creative and sell more than spots and dots.

2018: Kyle kicked off the speculation - what will radio look like? John said the future is not bright if we think we are only in the radio business, we need to expand beyond AM and FM and into the ever increasing number of HD channels, into the online space, into cellular - then the future is a whole lot brighter. Focus on radio's core strength - connecting with an audience. The future is really, really bright if we can make the technology work for us. Dan said it's about engagement, the ability to call people to action, to target, even geo-target an audience. We will be able to aggregate audience with electronic measurement, pool numbers, serve an advertiser better. Never losing the fact the radio reaches out and touches, engages. Farid feels radio time spent will go up, more fragmentation, more options in the home, agreed with the suggestion of longer commute times (part of the scenario set forth by Kyle when he asked the question). Farid sees a greening up of the roads, no billboards, newspapers have disappeared from the face of the earth. The revelation of cell phones causing cancer will end the use of cells. Google will be a wholly owned subsidiary of Clear Channel. (Farid is such a kidder) Gary's sense is targeting will get more fragmented, more fine. Jeff feels we already have a relationship with 95% of the community, where there was once a national media experience (early broadcast), now we are living in a niche world, the narrowing and fragmentation will continue. John's sense is the cellular platform will be the most narrow of all, individuals electing what content they wish to be sent - customization. Distribution platforms will allow a great amount of program diversity.

HD Radio: Jeff says the awareness of HD Radio is good. The mission is replace the one billion radios now in the market. He gives Peter Ferrara credit for a job well done. Dan said this is about HD chips. No one packages content better than radio. All we need are the appliances, we have the spectrum.

Q&A: Question to John - What is the status of Less is More? It has been extremely successful in that it made our stations better and forced us to change our perceptions and think differently about our listeners and advertisers. It caused us to address the quality of radio creative. LIM is a little in the rear view mirror. It's not the length that is important it's what the advertiser needs. Question to panel - numerous audio options in a single device - wifi, bluetooth, iboc - is there room, is there an industry group that is meeting with the manufacturers, who is making the sales calls? Jeff says the answer is yes, the HD Radio Alliance is working on this for HD but the NAB, RAB and others will work on this as well. Question to panel - I feel like this is a technology conference, where's the discussion about entertainment? We should go back to being in the entertainment business - why are we not entertaining any more? Why are we not people's best friend any more? Radio has forgotten what made it great! Jeff responds - the fact is we reach 95% of the American public, we are entertaining listeners. John responds - you ask where has the fun gone? Radio today is as good or better than it ever has been. Question to panel - how do we repurpose content and monetize it in the gaming space? Jeff responds his guys are working on it. John says his group is working on several adver-games. The first question was not a question but a positive comment by a buyer. Missed one of the questions. A buyer to John about the CC sellers being aggressive in their pitching of digital assets. Several IMs and a cell call covered her comment and John's response.

My take: Great job by Kyle as moderator and fine job of welcoming remarks by Mary Beth Garber. This morning's panel serves as a strong exhibit that radio CEOs need speech writers. As a group they were ok when they should have been far more inspiring. Each well spoken but no orators in the group this morning (while each is capable of delivering a much better performance, all that was needed was the right assist and prep). Poor John Hogan - he was first up and while he deserves major props for only using three slides he had trouble with ppt. What was clearly needed was more story telling. They all could have told some great stories. We got a tiny bit of that in Dan's opening remarks when he talked about listening to radio as a child and the power of disc jockeys to influence, persuade. The biggest missed opportunity was the failure to use examples of killer audio. Nothing sells radio better than GREAT audio.

Bonus: "Create tension! Without tension, brands become blands" so says Tom Asacker. As usual, he's right on the mark. Read his wonderful new article The Yin and Yang of Marketing via PDF here. Kudos, Tom! Very well done.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Image: presto o tardi, avro come la sensazione che mi manchera la terra da sotto i piedi by lasandrala. Beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

"What moves those of genius, what inspires their work is not new ideas, but their obsession with the idea that what has already been said is still not enough." Eugene Delacroix

"I hope that I may always desire more than I can accomplish." Michelangelo

"Fear of failure always produces mediocrity because the chosen solution will always be the least risky and the most banal in most cases." Oliviero Toscani

Today's quotation from the legendary creative genius Oliviero Toscani liberated from his talk at the DLD conference (video posted here yesterday). Oliviero made an outstanding case for the precious value of creativity and talked about the creative process. From my notes (which are not exact) here are more of his thoughts...

Creativity is always subversive.

Creativity requires energy and courage.

Creativity is just a consequence, a result.

The human race is divided into two classes: people who are creative and people who are not. Watch out for people who come up and say "I got an idea." Very dangerous. Truly creative people are rare, they are a tiny minority.

We consider the present to be only what appears in our rear view mirror. We live in the past because the past is more secure, since we have already been there, and is also more comfortable.

To be creative is to have no security, to be totally insecure. The courage to be insecure, to take risks. Anyone who will not take risks cannot be creative.

The raw material of art is the artist. Good sense would tell us that they should be protected. Handled with the same care which the baker handles flour. This is something that is becoming more and more rare.

We must have the courage to risk being different.

Art is the highest expression of human communication.

Creativity is communication.

Today the creativity of communication is conditioned by an obsessive search for consensus, the false belief that consensus is success. This is a big mistake.

Level up: Can't wait to read the new Clay Shirky book. Clay is the goods, a bright and original thinker. Ships next month, get yours - Amazon pre-order info here.

Bonus: Sprout Builder. Smart, very smart, bravos! Sprout Blog.

Congrats & cheers: Rich Homberg
takes the lead, new prexy at Detroit Public Television. Rich, one of the best and brightest in broadcasting, is a mensch and a gifted leader. Radio rising star Bill Klaproth promoted to WLUP program director.

French red: Zette 2003
. "...a modern Malbec with lush fruit flavors, medium body and notes of spice." A good value at $10.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

"God forgives those who invent what they need." Ayn Rand

"The eloquent man is he who is no beautiful speaker, but who is inwardly and desperately drunk with a certain belief." Ralph Waldo Emerson

"I don't want people who want to dance, I want people who have to dance." George Balanchine

Image: Grandfather's pocketwatch inner workings by The Rocketeer. Very cool. Thanks.

They Ponder Layoffs, But Executives Still Face Gaps in Talent: column by WSJ's In the Lead writer Carol Hymowitz (WSJ 1/28)....

"Next to the stock market, what CEOs talk about most is their lack of bench strength, says executive recruiter Peter Crist of Crist Associates. "Their inefficiency at succession planning is keeping me very busy," he says."

The important lesson here is about HRD. What, exactly, are you doing to develop your people?

That new sales os: WSJ's Phred Dvorak writes Next in Line for Reinvention: The Art of Selling (WSJ 1/28) and speaks with management consultant Ram Charan...

How does the sales force have to change?

Mr. Charan: The old salesperson: gregarious personality, very sociable. Plays golf. Goes to ballgames. Quick to link with people. Highly motivated. Long hours. Very perceptive in reading other people. The more successful ones know how to close the deal. It's still useful.

Going forward, the salesperson must build trust with the customers' people that's deeper than before and sustained over time. You cannot design a solution without information from the customer. And if the customer does not trust you, he or she will not give you information.

WSJ:What else has to change?

Mr. Charan: In the old game, one person could do the selling. In the new game, you need a team from your company. The reason you need a team is the solution you're going to create is going to come from different parts of your company.

That means salespeople have to be good leaders, to lead their team, and also persuade the customer team. Because customers also buy in teams."

Exactly, the right pov.

Jason Fry writes the Real Time column at WSJ, he has done an excellent new piece headed Beyond the Album...

"...In the digital age, physical CDs have become a clumsy way to package songs, a plastic spacesuit for the journey between the digital environment of record-company servers and the digital environment of a consumer's PC, iPod or phone. Now throw in the fact that consumers have resented the music-CD formats for years, deriding CDs as typically a couple of good songs and a bunch of filler, or asking why a movie soundtrack often costs more than the movie itself. Call the first contention unfair and the second ignorant of the different economics of the movie and music industries if you wish, but good luck convincing consumers in your local Best Buy."

Related WSJ Forum (comments) How Do You Buy Digital Music? here.

Bonus: Paulo Coelho

Paulo's brilliant keynote leading off the session on Creating Universes at the DLD conference Uploading the 21st Century. David Silverman, Carolyn Porco and Oliviero Toscani follow Paulo. Highly recommended.


Monday, January 28, 2008

"As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live." Goethe

"Great poetry is always written by somebody straining to go beyond what he can do." Stephen Spender

"The minute you settle for less than you deserve, you get even less than you settled for." Maureen Dowd

Image: to go back home by a bout de souffle. Wonderful! Thank you.

It's time for broadcast to celebrate the everyday.

Time to dedicate a share of promotional inventory to making listeners and viewers feel good.

Time to leverage the unique abilities of broadcast to be obvious, topical and local.

Last year WNBC returned their "We're 4 New York" campaign. In an interview about bringing back the image campaign David Hyman, WNBC's VP of programming and creative services said...

"I have talked to people, across all ages and stripes, when I mentioned 4 New York people just had this sort of wonderful glowing response to it. While we certainly don't make our decisions based on that, anecdotally it was interesting to find that out. It has changed a lot since its infancy in '92. This new campaign is more sophisticated than the original one. At the end of the day it is something that has a tremendous positive upbeat message, it doesn't make any overt claims really and it is something that makes you feel good."

The original '92 score included the lyric "If you imagine then you will see. All of the wonderful things that you can be."

There is a spirit, a pride, a joy, a magic, genuine deep emotions about every community.

Something very, very special about hometown.

Time to celebrate your metro.

All that is required is engaging the imagination of your team.

Crafting an emotional message that induces resonance with your listeners, your viewers.

Local, local, local.

Local images. Local sounds. Local voices.

Localize your property.

C O N N E C T!

R E L A T E!

It's all about the fundamentals that Bob Klein taught us in the last century. It works 100% of the time. Which reminds me of another gifted mind. Allow me to quote the brilliant Chuck Blore...

"There is nothing, nothing that can compete with a radio commercial for irresistible emotional communication but you gotta remember that it's the audience's imagination that completes the picture"

Read one of my earlier posts about Chuck here.

To date, the #2 biggest missed opportunity of 2008: turning unused inventory to your advantage.

Kudos to David Hyman and the WNBC team on a wonderful execution. Special honors to Edd Kalehoff (and daughter Alexis) on creating one very cool update of the original track.

Friday, January 25, 2008

"There are but two roads that lead to an important goal and to the doing of great things: strength and perseverance. Strength is the lot of but a few privileged men; but austere perseverance, harsh and continuous, may be employed by the smallest of us and rarely fails of its purpose, for its silent power grows irresistibly greater with time." Goethe

"I know the price of success: dedication, hard work and an unremitting devotion to the things you want to see happen." Frank Lloyd Wright

"Art is a step from what is obvious and well-known toward what is arcane and concealed." Kahlil Gibran

Image: Step by Thomas Hawk. Great shot. Thank you very much.

"Is Facebook becoming the social operating system of the Internet, poised to support a whole new generation of businesses? Or is this new industry of applications leaning too heavily on the quixotic popularity of a single website? Industry leaders and Wharton experts see major opportunities ahead for those who can manage the risks." Scrabulous and the New Social Operating System: How Facebook Gave Birth to an Industry. Read the entire article via Knowledge @ Wharton here.

Grapes: Another good Spanish red. Mas Rabell 2005 (Torres). 50% Garnacha, 50% Carinea. Aged six months in American oak casks. A fine value at $10.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

"You can't try to do things; you simply must do them." Ray Bradbury

"If you don't wake up with something in your stomach every day that makes you think, 'I want to make this movie,' it'll never get made." Sherry Lansing

"He turns not back who is bound to a star." Leonardo da Vinci

Image: coffee with a friend by lalajean_g. Very cool. Thank you.

Congrats & cheers: EveryBlock debuts with Chicago, New York and San Francisco data. Mighty cool idea. Local, local, local.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

"The secret to success in any human endeavor is total concentration." Kurt Vonnegut

"Become so wrapped up in something that you forget to be afraid." Lady Bird Johnson

"Concentration is everything. On the day I'm performing, I don't hear anything anyone says to me." Luciano Pavarotti

Image: setapart_011 by shane. Very cool. Thank you!

From the series of ads by United Technologies Corporation...

Most of us miss out on life's big prizes.
The Pulitzer.
The Nobel.
But we're all eligible for life's small pleasures.
A pat on the back.
A kiss behind the ear.
A four-pound bass.
A full moon.
An empty parking space.
A crackling fire.
A great meal.
A glorious sunset.
Hot soup.
Cold beer.
Don't fret about copping life's grand awards.
Enjoy its tiny delights.
There are plenty for all of us.

My favorite in the series remains a writing headed Make something happen, posted earlier here.

Bonus: She's changing her name from Kitty to Karen. She's trading her MG for a white Chrysler LaBaron. MOS music research. Cake video.

Revisited: Chicago radio - revenue per listener. 12+ AQH pers divided into gross rev. My thanks to Kurt Hanson for the suggestion. Second number in paren represents AQH rank.

1. (25) WSCR $1,162.62
2. (12) WTMX $1,075.06
3. (21) WXRT $945.00
4. (3) WBBM-AM $878.29
5. (27) WMVP $790.60
6. (26) WKQX $735.58
7. (9) WUSN $732.59
8. (11) WLIT $671.39
9. (1) WGN $659.56
10. (t18) WLUP $637.24
11. (15) WLEY $604.35
12. (10) WBBM-FM $587.03
13. (13) WDRV $574.46
14. (2) WGCI $513.58
15. (8) WLS $487.63
16. (t18) WJMK $477.42
17. (4) WOJO $475.06
18. (7) WKSC $464.46
19. (5) WVAZ $463.81
20. (17) WILV $408.87
21. (26) WCFS $403.53
22. (6) WNUA $305.29
23. (14) WZZN $188.89

Interesting to note the difference in performance between stations. For example, WLUP and WJMK have identical AQH pers, are also close in cume pers (the Loop leading Jack by approx 13k). Major upside potentials for WZZN and WNUA! The performances in this metric by WGCI and WVAZ (not to mention WNUA and WOJO) would seem to confirm, in my opinion, that racism is alive and well. Another interesting metric involves discovering how much it's costing to create a single avail. This is an excellent first step in developing an effective pricing model.

Previously - Revenue per listener using cume pers here.

More later.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

"Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls, and looks like work." Thomas A. Edison

"Go and wake up your luck." Persian proverb

"I think the purpose of life is to be useful, to be responsible, to be honorable, to be compassionate. It is, after all, to matter: to count, to stand for something, to have made some difference that you lived at all." Leo Rosten

Image: Dreaming... by nicolas valentin. Great shot. Thank you very much.

Fixing Yahoo! - they have 500 million uniques, what they don't have is a good execution strategy. Sramana Mitra sets it right...

"What I’m suggesting is that Yahoo build up and/or acquire multiple strong online verticals, monetize them thoroughly, report on them separately, and create an organization structure that enables them to execute on them successfully."

Bravos to Sramana! Read Yahoo, Please Put Up A Fight via gigaom here. My sense is to agree with Sramana. Yahoo! is broken but it can be fixed. In the ad space Yahoo! lags far behind Google and Microsoft and that position permits, allows, (should encourage) the radical revolution needed to make innovative and game-changing plays. Yahoo! needs to stop wasting time trying to get better (in a match they've already lost). Get different. To succeed sooner, fail faster. Hey, Jerry, the first step is talent, hire some freaks, now.

Another Yahoo! pov: John Furrier suggests Yahoo Please Join OpenSocial here.

Timesman David Carr writes about the ex-newsman who writes about newspapering...

"The life of an editor now is no longer a matter of just following the story. It’s trying to follow the story while fighting against YouTube and the blogs for readers’ attention, fighting for enough ink and paper after Craigslist and Google have taken their bites out of the budget, and fighting to keep the best reporters who can make better money elsewhere (like television)."

Carr is writing about the take of David Simon the creator of that fine TV show The Wire on what happened to the dead tree trade here.

Just the facts, Mam: You would think when writing about black radio on the day we remember Martin Luther King, Jr that some mention would be made of Atlanta's legendary WERD. Yesterday Dana Hall wrote about black radio and praised WDIA failing to even mention WERD. John Pepper, Bert Ferguson, David James Mattis and Nat D. Williams certainly deserve credit for their pioneering work at Memphis' WDIA. By the fall of 1949 WDIA was programming entirely for the black audience. Ms Hall is wrong in her writing when she states that the station was the first "black-run" station. The owners and management were white folks. What's significant here is in that same fall of 1949 another station, WERD, became not only the nation's first black owned and operated radio station but a station with a very special connection to Dr King. The Masonic lodge that was (later) home to WERD also housed Dr. King's Southern Christian Leadership Conference. WERD owner Jesse B Blayton, Sr along with his family and others including Jockey Jack Gibson are equally deserving of credit and should have been at least mentioned in Ms Hall's writing. Especially in a piece offered on the day we remember Dr. King as he often spoke to the Atlanta community via WERD. More on WERD here. Hey, Dana, how about a piece on WERD! (FD: My dad, Johnny Martin, worked at WERD where he served as a talent and, at one point, station program director)

Congrats & cheers: Pownce is out of private beta and open for business. Kudos to Leah Culver, Kevin Rose and Daniel Burka. Upstart the cool new soon-to-be book from team Mansueto, headed by Adam Platzner and Scott Medintz. Erica Farber on her Publisher's Profile of radio legend Bill Drake.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

"Among a hundred men there is one who can think, but only one among a thousand can see." John Ruskin

"Never look at the Brass, it only encourages them." Conductor's axiom

"Isn't life a series of images that change as they repeat themselves." Andy Warhol

Today's image: Clarity by Thomas Hawk. Beautiful! Thanks for sharing.

Meatball Sundae: Ten Questions for Seth Godin by Hugh MacLeod here.

Bonus: Groucho Marx documentary, Groucho by Ellen M. Krass. Outstanding, highly recommended. 58 minutes well worth your bandwidth.

Friday, January 18, 2008

"Quiet minds cannot be perplexed or frightened, but go on in fortune or misfortune at their own private pace, like a clock in a thunderstorm." Robert Lewis Stevenson

"Nothing will tell you more about yourself than the way you act toward fools." Mark Twain

"A really good creative person is more interested in earnestness than in glibness and takes more satisfaction out of converting people than in 'wowing' them." Leo Burnett

Today's image: Sunrise at Illuru by Ron Fell. Beautiful! Thanks for sharing.

Congrats & cheers: Michael Hirschorn & Stella Stolper on the launch of their new production firm Ish Entertainment. Rob Barnett and his My Damn Channel gang on their Katie "get" - one million uniques. Must see video.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

"The spectacle has changed, but our eyes are the same." Joseph Joubert

"The surest - also the quickest - way to awake the sense of wonder in ourselves is to look intently, undeterred, at a single object. Suddenly, miraculously, it will reveal itself as something we have never seen before." Cesare Pavese

"Don't let your people fall into a rut. Keep leading them along new paths, blazing new trails. Give them a sense of adventurous pioneering." David Ogilvy

Today's image: in vino veritas by Fred Winston. Outstanding! Thanks for sharing.

Here's a look at the Chicago 07 radio revenues in relation to audience. The revenue per listener (rpl) calc is simple arithmetic, weekly 12+ cume divided into revenue.

2007 RPL Rank, (06 rpl rank), Station, Rev per listener 07 (rpl 06), 07 cume rank, [07 rev rank] - top twenty stations. Stations in bold improved rank and rpl year over year.

1. (2) WSCR - $52.03 ($47.30) #22 [#8]

2. (1) WGN - $45.66 ($55.31) #5, [#2]
3. (5) WXRT - $42.46 ($45.19) #20 [#11]
4. (7) WLEY - $40.89 ($41.92) #21 [#15]
5. (4) WTMX - $40.88 ($45.53) #6, [#3]
6. (3) WOJO - $40.68 ($47.14) #16 [#7]
7. (8) WUSN - $40.18 ($40.16) #10, [#5]

8. (9) WBBM-AM - $37.83 ($37.53) #1, [#1]
9. (11) WLS - $36.61 ($35.13) #19 [#12]
10. (10) WVAZ - $32.96 ($36.64) #11 [#9]
11. (13) WMVP - $32.60 ($29.24) #23 [#18]
12. (14) WGCI - $30.71 ($29.23) #4 [#4]
13. (12) WLIT - $30.45 ($29.96) #8 [#6]

14. (15) WDRV - $26.30 ($28.23) #9 [#14]
15. (17) WLUP - $23.99 ($23.18) #13 [#16]
16. (19) WKQX - $23.20 ($22.33) #18 [#19]
17. (6) WCFS - $22.33 ($44.85)

18. (22) WBBM-FM - $19.08 ($17.23) #3 [#10]
19. (21) WNUA - $18.40 ($19.86) #7 [#17]
20. (18) WJMK - $18.39 ($22.97) #14 [#20]
21. (20) WILV - $17.88 ($20.48)
22. (23) WKSC - $15.67 ($13.26) #2 [#13]
23. (24) WZZN - $9.56 ($10.17)

What's on your dashboard?

To manage it you have to measure it. What are you measuring?

Revenue per associate, revenue per seller, revenue per sq foot, revenue per, well, everything. What is critical here is that you are tracking stuff. Metrics, measures, gotta have them...


The most effective measurement approach is to adopt a retail mindset, think daily metrics.

What did we do today?

Start a track of daily sales, daily collections, daily DSO, daily pending, daily interviews of applicants for jobs posted, daily inventory loads, daily visitors and page views at your sites, daily thank you notes mailed, daily everything.

The world and your business works minute-by-minute. Daily measures will keep you in touch with what's happening and what's not happening in your enterprise. Daily provides you the information needed to take action while you can still influence what's happening. Over time you will develop a sense for how things are going, you will be able to see through the numbers and benefit from a richer understanding.

Closed circuit to Radio CEOs - Part two of a series

Thank You

How many dead tree, hand-written, to be delivered by uniformed federal employees (USPS) thank you notes did you send yesterday? To corp staff? To the field (the new hire, the seller that closed that big order, the talent that did that killer remote, the traffic director that came in on a holiday weekend)? To customers (the first timer, the loyal no matter the ranker buyer)? To business partners (the national rep that got you on that buy, the web hosting service that kept you live 99.9% of last month)? To the press? To your state association CEOs? How many did your market managers send? Your department heads? Your sellers?

Dan Kelley, the guy who covers Classic Rock radio programming and promotion the way Willie Mays used to cover centerfield, adds Your airstaff? - Wonderful, YES! Notes to listeners (and notes to clients which are always a big surprise). Thanks Dan.

My thought is you and your team are only as good as the number of thank you notes you're sending daily.

If you are not sending thank you notes you are not doing the things that are important, the work that matters.

Thank you notes. Dead tree, hand-written. Emails don't count, phone calls don't count. Hand-written thank you notes count.


Yeah, I know, nobody does this.

That is why it is dramatically different, it helps to set you and your team apart, that's why it works 100% of the time.

Put it on your dashboard and watch it, daily.

Congrats & cheers: Randy Michaels reinvents the employee handbook. Rule #1: Use your best judgment. Rule #2: See Rule #1. Common sense - what a concept. Just what Tribune needed. Dial up the fun. Bravos, Randy! Molly Selvin writes up Randy and Sam via LAT here.

Let the games begin: Gawker to Cruise and the Church of Scientology - Drop dead.

Marshall Kirkpatrick offers up Perspective: Myspace Still Kicking Facebook's Ass in Traffic via ReadWriteWeb here. Data chart by Hitwise.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

"Though constantly looking at people, one rarely forms new impressions of them, impressions implying the registration of novelty rather than the confirmation of prejudice. At only a few stages do we actively sketch a picture of someone - on first meeting, after a long absence, in the course of a furious row, after an illness, something to break the laziness of photographic habit." Alain de Botton

"One can look at can't hear hearing." Marcel Duchamp

"We build up whole culture patterns based on past 'facts' which are extremely selective. When a new fact comes in that does not fit the pattern we don't throw out the pattern. We throw out the fact." Robert Pirsig

Today's image: 2 of Spades by jaylara. Excellent. Thank you for sharing.

Leadership makes a difference.

Marin Alsop the gifted music director of the Baltimore Symphony told Charlie Rose last night she wants her legacy to be "...a culture of joy about making music."

She also suggested the same orchestra, playing the same maps, in the same hall led by five different conductors would produce five perceptibly different performances.

She's right.

In my experience the same performers, working in (basically) the same format, at the same station led by different show runners, EPs or program directors produce perceptibly different performances. Moreover, I have witnessed or been involved many times when stations with the same staff, same format go from worst to first in the ratings by changing leadership.

The six word job description of a leader is get the best out of others.

Marin says that one needs to "enable them" and that means one must be sincere, authentic, committed. She told Charlie believing in people was key.

She's right. Check out the video.

Nobody likes it but the listeners: The vogue subject matter some are writing, opining about and beating to death is the false notion, the canard, that the youth are no longer listening to radio.

Total nonsense.

Exhibit A: Brian Kelly's 103.7 KISS FM.

Here is the station's five book cume rating trend, 12-17 persons...

49.1, 49.7, 50.4, 50.0, 55.4

55 out of every 100 teens in Milwaukee tuned in to one station, Brian's radio station, at least once a week this past fall.

That's up from 49 in the fall of 06.


But wait, there's more. 103.7 KISS FM posted a 35.5 cume rating with 18-34 persons. A full third of all Milwaukee 18-34s said they listened to one station, KISS, during the week. Congrats and cheers to Brian Kelly and his amazing staff on another killer book.

Closed circuit to Radio CEOs - Part one (of I don't know how many in a series)...


That's one of the things missing in most outfits today.

Catch your station people doing something right.

No matter how bad things are and, I know, things are not good this January, someone at some station in your group is hitting the cover off the ball. Are David Field and Weezie Kramer showing Brian Kelly the love? I'll bet you that's one of the biggest reasons why he is still getting his mail in Milwaukee and not in Chicago, LA or New York.

It's about leadership. It's about the Radio CEO understanding their legacy to be "a culture of joy about making great radio." Some words are very powerful, thank you very much and I'm proud of you have their own weather systems. Catch people doing something right. Show them that you care. "Action today!" as Churchill famously said.

Game on.

Set the wayback machine for November, 1958, Louisville, Kentucky...


4:00-5:00 PM, Monday - Friday

Station Men - Women - Teen - Children - Total - AQH Rating

WAKY 28 51 49 5 133 9.9
WINN 39 77 13 5 134 4.0
WHAS 35 89 6 7 137 2.4
WKLO 37 78 16 7 138 3.4
WAVE 37 80 8 7 132 2.6
WLOU 37 75 13 6 131 0.8

The guy holding down afternoons on WINN was Johnny Martin, my dad. Not bad for a PD with an airshift.

"We have conducted a thorough search and are able to report to you without reservation that there is no money in the building"

During my talk last week to the sales team at a client TV station, the one line that generated an email from almost all attending. Thank you very much.

Getting and staying focused on top line delivers one of the very best ROIs. When you've got top line working the bottom line takes care of itself. Hint: Ensure your sellers aren't doing their best selling in the building.

"We are in the friction removal business."

A great line on leadership by Tom Peters from his Project05 doc. Outstanding! Thanks TP!

Bonus: Seth has written something you need to read. Only two years left...

"So stop thinking about how crazy the times are, and start thinking about what the crazy times demand. There has never been a worse time for business as usual. Business as usual is sure to fail, sure to disappoint, sure to numb our dreams. That's why there has never been a better time for the new. Your competitors are too afraid to spend money on new productivity tools. Your bankers have no idea where they can safely invest. Your potential employees are desperately looking for something exciting, something they feel passionate about, something they can genuinely engage in and engage with.

You get to make a choice. You can remake that choice every day, in fact. It's never too late to choose optimism, to choose action, to choose excellence. The best thing is that it only takes a moment -- just one second -- to decide."

Thanks, Seth. Bravos! Wonderful! Read the entire post here.

Bonus 2: Radio programming ace Michael Fischer tips me to another Seth post, Workaholics...

"A workaholic lives on fear. It's fear that drives him to show up all the time. The best defense, apparently, is a good attendance record.

A new class of jobs (and workers) is creating a different sort of worker, though. This is the person who works out of passion and curiosity, not fear."

Read Seth's post here. Thanks, Michael! FUD is deadly; decide to be optimistic and go for greatness! Make something happen. Patton said it, quoting Bismarck (quoting Napoleon) "L'Audace, toujours l'audace" Audacity, always audacity.

Congrats & cheers: Robert Scoble joins Mansueto Digital to launch FastCompany.TV - smart, very smart. Release here.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

"Every tool carries with it the spirit by which it has been created." Werner Heisenberg

"The unlike is joined together, and from differences results the most beautiful harmony." Heraclitus

"The prerequisite of originality is the art of forgetting, at the proper moment, what we know." Arthur Koestler

Today's image: Singel at dusk by Mor (bcnbits). Wonderful. Thanks for sharing!

Tom Peters writes a great deal of relevant stuff. Late in 2004 he created a list and titled it CEOs Are Idiots! (Project05, 240-page PDF, free download here). Here are six from Tom's list.

CEOs are idiots because they...

1. UNDERestimate the Threat to their Existence; OVERestimate their Resilience

2. Fail to spend Hyper-aggressively on IS/ to exploit fully the web

5. Recruit mostly from Conventional Sources; have a Low Tolerance for RiskTakers - Freaks

6. [Are] Less than 24/7 "TalentFanatics"

7. Favor "MarketShare" over MarketCreation

8. Believe that "Process" beats "Passion," "Analysis" beats "Action"

Bonus: Listen to adults having their way with a student radio station. Bruce Ravid hosts today's take over at WSUM in Madison. Check it out here.

Image: Techcrunch. Duncan Riley live blogging the SJ keynote from Macworld here.

700Mhz: Google is on the list along with Cox, Advance/Newhouse, Bresnan. John Eggerton has the story at B&C here.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

"We all agree that your theory is mad. The problem that divides us is this: is it sufficiently crazy to be right?" Niels Bohr

"If you want to get pays to be ready." Michael Bierut

"It isn't that they can't see the solution, it is that they can't see the problem." G.K. Chesterton

Today's image: Color Palette by creativesam. Beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

Michael Rosenblum continues to post stuff that matters, to wit:

"Broadcasters have spent 50 years working in one way - creating content for broadcast - a one way street. You sit and listen. I will create the stuff for you to watch. It’s the ’shut up and take it’ school of content. Which was fine, so long as the technology was dumb and passive.

But it isn’t dumb and passive any more.

It talks back.

Broadcasters are a in unique position to seize the initiative here, because for the moment, they have the attention of the audience. But only for the moment. If they don’t seize that moment and start the conversation, the audience is going to drift away.

Because the product no longer measures up… not to what the technology can do… it no longer measures up to what the technology will do."

Read the entire post here. Bravos to Michael!

Bonus: Ken Levine offers up two excellent posts, writers writing about writer's block - with comments here and here.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

"A grapefruit is a lemon that had a chance and took advantage of it." Oscar Wilde

"Make chance essential." Paul Klee

"The hardest thing to see is what is in front of your eyes." Goethe

Today's image: Yellow rose - Radiant Perfume Rose by RosePhotosEtc. Beautiful. Thanks.

The Emmis earnings call yesterday was refreshing. Unvarnished candor without the graduate level dog ate my homework excuse making.

Finally, someone had the courage to speak up and talk about reality as it is, not as it was or as some wish it to be. Bravos to Jeff Smulyan!

While Jeff is right to suggest we may well have reached the "worst-point in the history of the industry" he is, in my opinion, equally right to be optimistic.

Let's review the bidding.

The first tribe of wireless starts this year with an estimated 233 million weekly users, reaching 93% of Americans.

Early indications from the PPM data tell us radio's reach is robust, greater even than the reach now revealed by diary capture.

We have at hand empirical data on radio's effectiveness thanks to the ground-breaking and ongoing work of the Radio Ad Effectiveness Lab.

While radio is not growing revenues (or bcf) the generation of free cash remains strong. Radio stocks have no chance of coming back until growth, that bitch goddess of Wall Street, is clearly in evidence.

2008 can be a tipping point, a second chance.

Today's sales crisis (and truth be known that is exactly what we are experiencing, a full blown crisis years in the making) should serve as the final wakeup call, the needed catalyst for change.

Jeff is also right when he says "demand is the issue." As a practical matter, we have to get serious about creating that demand. We need to keep the AV (audacity and veracity) dialed up to eleven.

What's needed now more than ever before is effective leadership.

No one is going to save us, we have to save ourselves. Let me close with Dr Hamel...

"What ultimately constrains the performance of your organization is not its business model, nor its operating model, but its management innovation has a unique capacity to create a long term advantage for your company...frankly, today's best practices aren't good enough...I dream of organizations that are capable of spontaneous renewal, where the drama of change is unaccompanied by the wrenching trauma of a turnaround. I dream of businesses where an electric current of innovation pulses through every activity, where the renegades always trump the reactionaries. I dream of companies that actually deserve the passion and creativity of the folks who work there, and naturally elicit the very best that people have to give. Of course, these are more than dreams; they are imperatives. They are do or die challenges for any company that hopes to thrive in the tumultuous times ahead - and they can only be surmounted with inspired management innovation...'management' as currently practiced, is a drag on success" Gary Hamel, The Future of Management

Bonus: Larry Shannon - That's Where America Talks. Kudos to Larry, well said!

But wait, there's more: Kurt Hanson weighs in on the new HD Radio Alliance creative - HD Radio Alliance found a workable tactic...but it's off-strategy here. Reading Kurt's post reminds me. Please let us see the research finding supporting the claim (among others) that HD Radio has a 77% awareness.

Older men take control of perfectly good student radio station: Doing it only to amuse themselves, Bruce Ravid will host and be joined by Tom Teuber, Rick Murphy, Dave Benson and others in the eight hour take over of WSUM. It's scheduled to happen on Tuesday, January 15 beginning at 10 am. Don't miss it if you can.

Next time: Closed circuit to Radio CEOs - The 2008 To Do List

From TED, must see video, J. J. Abrams: The mystery box

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

"It is only with the heart that one can see rightly. What is essential is invisible to the eye." Antoine de Saint-Exupery

"To gaze is to think." Salvador Dali

"I shut my eyes in order to see." Paul Gauguin

Today's image: Art Supply Vortex by taylorkoa22. Wonderful. Thanks for sharing.

The top two stories in this morning's Inside Radio concern the HD Radio Alliance.

Peter Ferrara tells IR as many as 1.5 million receivers "could be sold" in the coming months. That's good news. We have set a performance expectation, established a measurable business objective. The same paragraph references "the estimate of one million units already in-use." This would seem to be an error of fact. The last number heard was 500,000 units sold over the last 20 months or so. How many units have actually been sold? What's needed here is a full disclosure. All involved will benefit from transparency.

We also learn this morning that GSD&M was chosen because of results produced for BMW using a share of the HD Radio Alliance radio inventory. What were those results exactly? Let's get a testimonial from BMW's CMO on the power of radio advertising. While we're at it, let's invite that CMO and a representative from GSD&M to speak at RAB 2008. They can deliver a case study.

Bravos to Peter for inviting ideas on the 2008 campaign. "The more we have input, the better we're going to get at it" he tells IR. Here are three suggestions:

Let's get some research into the field to measure the messaging.

Let's tag the messaging directing listeners to the site, we need to put the web to work, help deliver the mail and compliment the broadcast messaging. Station main pages should also feature an HD Radio badge above the fold linking to the hdradio domain.

Let's open a serious and candid industry conversation putting everything on the table.

Congrats & cheers: Top ten in the city, 25-54, fall book. 1) WSKQ tied WLTW 2) WBLS 3)WRKS 4) WHTZ 5) WPAT 6) WAXQ 7) WKTU 8) WCBS-FM 9) WWFS 10) WQHT. #1 18-34 a tie between WQHT and WHTZ. Special honors to the crews at Z100, WSKQ, WLTW and WBLS, they have again proven it possible to deliver top five rankings 18-34 and 25-54.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

"In every game of chance there's a chump, should that person not be obvious to you then you're the chump." Johnny Martin

"...I don't work. I just dream. My best office is my bed." Philippe Starck

"A truly poetic canvas is an awakened dream." Rene Magritte

Today's image: Still Life Series: Quintet by rbaez. Wonderful. Thanks for sharing!

Friday's unemployment stats are not encouraging (up to 5%). The online-betting market at has the contract on a US recession this year north of 55%. The first consumer-led recession since 1991 would not be good for measured media. On the day job our projection is a good year for TV (political cycle/Olympics year), flat for radio. Big media and cable remain out of favor with Wall Street. Retail and other consumer-discretionary stocks are priced for an economic meltdown.

Andrew Olmsted wore the uniform, fought in Iraq, blogged under the name G'Kar. He was killed on January 3. He trusted a friend, leaving a final post to be published in the event of his death. That post is here.

Bonus: Steve Rubel, the prince of PR, makes the case for an end to the "Lazysphere" and more thoughtful, serious and original blogging. Kudos, Steve. The Lazysphere and the Decline of Deep Blogging.

From The Wall Street Journal...

Monday, January 07, 2008

"I am my brain's publisher." Philippe Starck

"Music draws upon feeling and thinking, joining the emotional with the rational." Yehudi Menuhin

"Every exit is an entry somewhere else." Tom Stoppard

Today's image: Fly My Guitar by The Rocketeer. Great shot. Thanks for sharing.

NBCU has a site dedicated to CES. Very cool. NBCU at CES.

Scoble: Live streaming wireless video from the CES show floor here. Congrats to Mogulus!
LATER: John Furrier and others participated in a cool real-time Q&A via video and chat from the Scoble Blog Haus.

Kudos: Peter Ferrara permissions access to the new HD Radio Alliance creative. Not a fanboy of the new creative but perhaps you will be. Check it out here (audio is stored under Commercials). Thank you, Peter.

Kudos 2: Fred Jacobs offers up Lessons From the HD2 Highway by guest blogger Mark Pennington, the programming ace behind RIFF2.

Friday, January 04, 2008

"To create one's own world in any of the arts takes courage." Georgia O'Keeffe

" of the hallmarks of a creative person is the ability to tolerate ambiguity, dissonance, inconsistency, things out of place. But one of the rules of a well-run corporation is that surprise be minimized. Yet if this rule were applied to the creative process, nothing worth reading would get written, nothing worth seeing would get painted, nothing worth living with and using would ever get designed." Ralph Caplan

"The ways of creativity are infinite: the ways of formal learning are numbered. Restless, curious, playful, contriving, the innovative mind feeds on challenge and makes its home in the province of mystery." Robert Grudin

Today's image: Street guardian by Rui Palha. Brilliant. Thanks for sharing!

Something discovered while doing research for an upcoming talk.

David Ogilvy, a memo to the Board, October 1978...

A Teaching Hospital

I have a new metaphor.

Great hospitals do two things: They look after patients, and they teach young doctors.

Ogilvy & Mather does two things: We look after clients, and we teach young advertising people.

Ogilvy & Mather is the teaching hospital of the advertising world. And, as such, to be respected above all other agencies.

I prefer this to Stanley Resor's old saying that J. Walter Thompson was a 'university of advertising.'

Beautiful. Ogilvy was indeed a genius.

Wanted: Teaching hospitals of the 21st century advertising world.

My sense is that project would require another Ogilvy. Leadership!

Bonus: Lee Arnold

"Perspective is worth ten IQ points"

That's wise counsel from Gary Hamel. As we begin another first quarter and another round of earnings calls what we need is some fresh perspective. The #1 challenge facing broadcasters continues to be broadcasters. Captives to history. As a practical matter, incumbency is worthless. Stop thinking about broadcast in the context of broadcast. Start thinking about broadcast in the context of everything else. Focus on the denominator. The most telling stat of all is share. Set aside CAGR, broadcast share is in decline - Danger, Will Robinson. First big important step - find the hunger. Forget about getting better, get pathologically competitive, obsessed about getting different. (My thanks to Thomas P.M. Barnett for the construct. Tom has said the difference between himself and the folks that work at the Pentagon is they think about war in the context of war and he thinks about war in the context of everything else)

Eagle flies in Iowa: Campaign Media Analysis Group estimates Iowa TV stations picked up $45 mil in the run up to yesterday's caucuses.

Congrats & cheers: For the first time, Disney Channel beat all the ad-supported cable networks in prime during 2007, delivering more average viewers than any other #1 network in cable TV history. USA posted second.

Blogging music: Daytrotter. Rock Sellout. My thanks to the Hey Nielsen crew for the tips.

Too soon to tell: Story about GSD&M creative for the HD Radio Alliance breaks in the trade. Gregory Solman writes it up in Ad Week, GSD&M Preps $200 Mil. + HD Radio Push. Meanwhile, Media Monitors proclaims the HD Radio Alliance 2007's #1 radio advertiser (national spot). 1,451,036 spots detected. My thought is those 1.45 mil units were only a part of the 2007 messaging efforts. Promos, IDs, et al by local stations were not insignificant and should be properly credited in any realistic accounting of investments made in the HD Radio initiative. As mentioned here previously 2008 is the third year of this initiative. Alliance members have pledged $230 mil in inventory. This represents an incredible opportunity and one that should not be wasted. The largest single multi-year investment made by and for radio in the history of radio should produce results. The HD Radio campaign should serve as nothing less than a practical demonstration of the power of radio advertising. The evidence must be empirical. Q.E.D.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

"I quote others only the better to express myself." Michel de Montaigne

"Creativity is the defeat of habit by originality." Arthur Koestler

"If you want to get pays to be ready." Michael Bierut

Today's image: This Way by photosapience. Wonderful. Thank you for sharing!

Radio execs continue to have important and valuable missed opportunities at hand. More here (including comment by Mel Taylor).

Local, local, local: Google gets a dedicated GOOG-411 button on new phones. Release here.

Make it urgent

Fred Jacobs revisits last month's kerfuffle related to the new GSD&M creative from the HD Radio Alliance and suggests an industry dialogue. He's right. Fred's post here. What is obviously missing in all of this - so far - is any sense of urgency on the part of Peter Ferrara. Disclosure, transparency, creative collaboration, ongoing open and candid industry conversation are needed going forward. Needed now! This is becoming less about the new creative and more about leadership. Peter, do the right thing, take the lead, make 2008 the year of dramatic game-changing difference, of real progress for HD Radio. P.S. You'll find a great many of radio's best and brightest willing and ready to answer the call.

Face time, again: Free the Scoble 5,000!!! Kara's take here...

"All that information on Facebook is Robert Scoble’s. So, he should–even if he agreed to give away his rights to move it to use the service in the first place (he had no other choice if he wanted to join)–be allowed to move it wherever he wants."

Dave Winer lends his usual uncommon good sense to this...

"It's a big effin loop we're in. One of these times around one of the companies that feels (incorrectly) that they have a lock on their users, will voluntarily give it up and be a leader in Generation N+1. I've never seen it happen, but in theory I think it could...So Facebook has the opportunity to be a crossover company, part of the next generation -- or a last gasp of the generation that's about to run out of gas. It's their choice. And it's fitting somehow that Scoble is the poster child for users in this cycle."

More Dave w/comments here.

Robert writes Facebook disabled my account and weighs in here (hundreds of comments and counting - good show).

LATER: We learn Robert was alpha testing Plaxo Pulse.

The lesson here is not about ToU or portability of personal data or the myth called privacy. The lesson here is don't be messin with alpha-geeks. More on data portability here.

Bubble 2: Plaxo for sale? $100 mil? Timesman Andrew Ross Sorkin has the story here.

Resolution, Read More: Brad puts up a one page summary of the Thomas P.M. Barnett suggested reading list. Outstanding. Highly recommended list, here. Thanks Brad, and TPMB! Earlier comp on Tom's site here.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

"What we observe is not nature itself, but nature exposed to our method of questioning." Werner Heisenberg

"Art must take reality by surprise." Francoise Sagan

"Fiction reveals truths that reality obscures." Jessamyn West

Today's image: gunung bromo by okay then. Incredible. Thanks for sharing!

Blue Iris is the color of the year, this brand new year of 2008.

How can I be so certain?

The color experts at Pantone told me so. Color is their business, and business is good. Read their release here.

How does this relate to what you do for a living?

My thought is it's all about being au courant (i.e., well-informed). We are best served when we understand and come to believe, we all are in the business of fashion. Fashion defined as...

the latest and most admired style

It's about currency and how fashion forward you have the courage and smarts to be. Rule taker > Rule breaker > Rule maker. Choose one, carefully.

Fashion statement: Four features did over $300 mil in 2007. Spider-Man 3, Shrek the Third, Transformers, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix just missed with $292 mil. Interesting, four of the top five are franchises. As The Old Scotchman often said "People don't know what they like but they like what they know." (Thanks to BoxOfficeMojo)

Tom Asacker: His last post of 2007 might be his best yet. Don't miss it if you can. Bravos, Tom! The Ultimate Experience, via PDF here.

: Matt Webb - wrapping up 2007.

List: Rex Sorgatz - Best Blogs of 2007 That You (Maybe) Aren't Reading

Harvard Business joins the conversation: The Biggest Management Challenges in 2008...

"The biggest challenge for managers in 2008 will be giving employees 'permission to play', making work more meaningful and keep it real." -- Kathryn Aiken

Read the entire post here. Main page of the new HBR blog Conversation Starter here. Thanks to Dr Dave for the tip.

Right on the money (again): Dave Winer - Twitter's business model.