Friday, February 29, 2008

"A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking." Steven Wright

"The best is the enemy of the good." Voltaire

"Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little." Burke

Today's image: a hard day's work by Yives. Wonderful. Thank you very much.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

"If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail." Bernard Baruch

"It is better to be making the news than taking it, to be an actor rather than a critic." Winston Churchill

"Next to knowing when to seize an opportunity, the most important thing in life is to know when to forgo an advantage." Disraeli

Today's image: as I walked away by durango99. Beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

Bonus: Alisa Miller @ TED

Congrats & cheers: Robert J. Dickey named prexy, Gannett newspapers. Heidi Raphael promoted to VP of Corporate Communications for Greater Media.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

"Restless is discontent and discontent is the first necessity of progress." Thomas Edison

"The best and most solid work was done in the wilderness of minority." Gandhi

"Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care." Theodore Roosevelt

Today's image: untitled by Lo Zingaro. Beautiful. Thank you very much.

Dead tree & broadcast reduced: Kimberly-Clark expects to spend on 46% of its budget on TV this year, down from 60% in 2004. Related AdAge story. Image: Adage.

Dean Singleton speaking at this weeks NAA Marketing Conference..."Giving ourselves a bad image is a problem. It's part of our DNA, and readers don't care what is going on in the newsroom. We over-report it. If we need to downsize newsrooms, we maybe should start with the media reporters."

Video: My Damn Channel's You Suck at Photoshop #7. Congrats to Rob Barnett and crew! One of this week's top favs on YouTube.

Getting it right: Tom Asacker teaches us how to "prejudge any ad or other piece of marcom" in four steps...

"1. See the flower.

The first thing an ad must do is grab the attention of the audience. Therefore it must be different; different enough that the audience pauses and says, "Huh? What's that?" This is difficult to do with a TV ad. We tend to multi task with the television humming in the background."

Read Tom's entire post here. Kudos, Tom! Breaking through, capturing attention, getting them to pay attention really is job one, the first critically important hurdle in messaging.

The early line: Reed Business Information pubs could fetch $2B (via Folio).

Pls make note of it: Scoble's soon to be new home. Hey Robert, set up your feed, please.

Beating the deceased: Page Views Are Dead

Bonus: Frrvrr. I heart those Onion guys.

Congrats & cheers: Fred Jacobs and his Jacobs Media gang, celebrating another jacoBLOG birthday, it's a blog that matters; thanks, Fred. Christina Glorioso named VP Sales & Marketing Partnerships, MTVN (Program Enterprises Group) - smart. Chris Anderson and crew on the eve of another TED - preview (blog). Tim Russert for the last question last night, getting Hillary to talk about the vote, well played, TR.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

"To be a great champion you must believe you are the best. If you're not, pretend you are." Muhammad Ali

"In a revolution, as in a novel, the most difficult part to invent is the end." Alexis de Tocqueville

"Be a Columbus to whole new continents and worlds within you, opening new channels, not of trade, but of thought." Thoreau

Image: Faster than light by ugglan. Cool shot. Thank you.

Award for record low: Academy Awards post 21.9 rating, 33 share, over 20% lower than last year. No wonder, with few exceptions (to wit: the opening sequence, a few good lines by Jon and the Diablo Cody win) the show was a complete bore.

Pay radio: Latest digits from Mel indicate annual ad revs that are less than one really good FM radio station (e.g., WTMX), sub counts would suggest the sector is looking more and more - as predicted - like HBO without the cool, engaging and high quality original content baggage. Absent the merger these guys are dead. N=1 odds are still 6 to 5 against. Should the deal get approved and closed my guess is they'll be able to hold the combined Christmas party in an elevator. At best a very modest niche player.

CBS broadcast down, outdoor up: Random notes from the call. Q4 results - TV (4%), Radio (10%), same station radio comps (7%). Publishing (4%), Outdoor +9% (domestic). Les says March Madness will generate $21 mil in interactive ad rev this year, up from $10 mil last year, $4 mil in '06 and $250k in '05 the first year of on demand streaming. Keep in mind the first year was a pay model since dropped. CBS Audience Network now over 300 affiliated websites. 20 retrans deals done, smaller and mid-sized MSOs. $186 mil cap ex in '07 to upgrade outdoor to digital. Les says priority #1 is to pay dividends. No affiliate meeting this year. Scatter pricing up north of 30% from upfront. Les says "...pilots are vastly over-rated, it's all about episode twenty not episode one." CSI franchise has brought in over $2 bil. Les feels network prime CPMs will be up in May, feels C3 will help.

Bonus: Stuff White People Like

Thank you very much: Brian McAndrews proclaims the end of days for "the last ad standing." Bravos, Brian!

"...we're not in a recession, we're not going into a recession" Sam Zell via CNBC Squawk

Buzz: Yahoo! Apex & SearchMonkey No real buzz on Yahoo! Buzz, a me-too, perhaps too late. (Sidebar - Jerry says online will be the dominant domestic ad medium - revs - come 2013). Seems to me media sales is 70% relationships and 30% tech. Therefore, my sense is no matter how cool their new app, Jerry and Sue are likely to remain third in a two horse race, unless...

Congrats & cheers: Doug Podell promoted, named Director of Rock Programming, Greater Media, Detroit. Microsoft debuts Engagement Mapping, jumping into the BT game. Glam Media on another round, this one $84.6 mil. Randall Rothenberg, his first advertiser/agency gathering seems to be a total smash!

Monday, February 25, 2008

"Brevity is power." Josh Billings

"Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear - not absence of fear." Mark Twain

"Doubt is the yeast of cognition." Alessandro Morandotti

Today's image: Kashgar by Emmanuel Smague. Fine shot. Thank you very much.

Friday, February 22, 2008

"When everything is coming your way, you're in the wrong lane." Steven Wright

"Eighty percent of success is showing up." Woody Allen

"Passion is born deaf and dumb." Honore de Balzac

Today's image: e Solo il giorno che Muore by Jody Art. Beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

Thank you very much: Madison Magazine and Next Generation Consulting hosted a cocktail party last evening to celebrate their latest collaboration - discovering the Best Places to Work in Madison. We had a fun time. We also learned that trust is an important characteristic of the best employers..."Working in an environment where information is shared and people act with integrity and respect." Winning companies get recognition in the magazine's March issue and during WISC-TV news segments. Smart.

The dialed-in wireless exec: Radio programming and marketing ace Lee Arnold shares his online reading ritual here. Honored to make the cut. Thanks, Lee.

Bonus: RocknRollDating. Thanks to Lee Arnold for the tip. The obvious remains the most difficult to grasp.

Australian red: Boarding Pass Shiraz 2005. Very good value at $15.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

"Talking is searching, writing is finding." Koos Van Zomeren

"The minority is always right." Henrik Ibsen

"The only form of fiction in which real characters do not seem out of place is history." Oscar Wilde

Image: Follow The Yellow Brick Road by boopsie daisy. Wonderful. Thank you.

It's not about radio, it's about audio: Excellent point made by my friend Kurt Hanson with respect to the recent news that "radio" listening is down (PUR)...

"In any case,
“radio” actually, in the real world, to consumers, includes cable radio (e.g., Music Choice), satellite radio (XM and Sirius), and Internet radio (both streams of AM/FM stations and Internet-only stations).

Available data suggests that those forms of radio have acquired millions of AQH persons listeners during the same period — currently, perhaps 2,000,000 for Internet radio, over 1,000,000 for satellite radio, and I’d guess over 500,000 for cable radio. That’s almost certainly more listeners gained than the 2,600,000 that AM/FM apparently lost."

Spot-on! Bravos, Kurt! Read Kurt's post here.

Bonus: How to Market in a Recession by John Quelch via HBR here.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

"The poet must not cross an interval with a step when he can cross it with a leap." Joseph Joubert

"It is the business of the future to be dangerous." Alfred North Whitehead

"A writer dies when he ceases to have, and exercise, omnivorous curiosity." Ezra Pound

Image: self portrait by (rhythm and) days. Killer shot. Thank you.

Congrats & cheers: GenieTown launches. Jon Miller joins OpenX as chairman.

Getting better v Getting different

Getting better is the dangerous trap that is incrementalism.

Getting better is a self-serving illusion, a wrong headed focus on activities over results.

Getting better is playing it safe, being preoccupied with market share, the numerator.

Getting different is disruptive, an intellectually honest challenge to business as usual.

Getting different requires the courage to abandon industry dogma, putting results first.

Getting different involves risk, being preoccupied with market creation, the denominator.

Sam Zell understands that getting better will not begin to fix the problems at Tribune. Speaking to employees at Trib Tower yesterday he said "If we keep operating the way we've been operating, there is no future." (Related Trib story).

This reminded me of something said by the legendary broadcaster Larry Haeg "If we are doing things the same way today as we were last season, we are behind the times...Ideas are our stock in trade. Contribute new ones without fear as to who will get the credit."

When questioned about his use of profanity Zell responded "I'm not disrespecting anybody. I'm trying to make everybody uncomfortable...This business has been eroding before your eyes and you're worried about my language?...this is a crisis. We've got to save this business."

Bravos to Sam Zell!

The first major hurdle is shifting the focus, the attention and mindset to the important and away from the urgent. The inertia of "that's the way we've always done things around here" is as powerful as it is seductive. Tradition is a wonderful way to rationalize failure right down to the last dollar of the enterprise. Which brings to mind one of Shaw's insights, to wit: "Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything." Thinking is hard work and thinking is what Sam Zell is trying to get the Trib folks to start doing, it's exactly the right strategy.

At war for talent, continued: Gates on Yahoo: It's the people. Ina Fried has the story here.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

"Ideas are kindled through friction." Jean de La Bruyere

"Fortune pays you sometimes for the intensity of her favors by the shortness of their duration. She soon tires of carrying anyone long on her shoulders." Baltasar Gracian

"My business, my art, is to live my life." Montaigne

Today's image: Retrospective II by Michail. Great shot. Thanks for sharing.

Charles McGrath writing in the Times, Is PBS Still Necessary...

" far the greatest advantage of public radio is that, by not trolling after ratings, it has managed to stay distinctive: it does what nothing else on radio does and sticks to its core: news and public affairs and the oddball weekly show like “Car Talk” and “A Prairie Home Companion.” At the same time, public radio thrives, in a way that public TV does not, from internal competition: in addition to NPR, the old standby, there is the newer, hipper PRI (Public Radio International), importer of the invaluable BBC World Service news program and distributor of innovative shows like “Studio 360 With Kurt Andersen” and “This American Life,” which NPR did not fight for.

Where would we be without this stuff, gathered so conveniently at the low end of the FM dial? How would we fill those otherwise empty hours when we’re held hostage in our cars? At its best public television adds a little grace note to our lives, but public radio fills a void."

Read the entire article here. Bravos, Charles! Well said. Now, about that funding issue, time to get Big Bird ready for the hill visits.

Bonus: Authors@Goggle - Robert Frank. Wonderful, highly recommended video. "Seeing ideas at work, in context" His homework assignment: "Knowing biology makes it possible to discern additional pattern and texture in natural environments. Why, in most species, are males bigger and more colorful than females?" Amazon info (preorder his latest book in paper)

Congrats & cheers: Dan Farber named EIC @ CNET's Smart, very smart.

Monday, February 18, 2008

"He who never hurries is always on time." Mikhail Bulgakov

"Delay breeds danger." Cervantes

"Our business in this world is not to succeed, but to continue to fail, in good spirits." Robert Lewis Stevenson

Image: Xmas lights by janeau. Great shot. Thank you.

Terry Heaton
writes a blog that belongs in your reader. Caught up with it over the weekend, here are two quick takes...

"I believe the arts belong to everyone and that artists should be revered in culture. They are not, especially in a world run by anti-creative, left-brained bean counters. I’m not sure it’ll ever be any different, and for me personally, that’s okay. For no bean counter will ever experience the rush that is touching the unbroken web. That, my friends, is a form of currency more costly than gold."

Outstanding! Bravos, Terry. Read the entire post here.

Terry also shared data from the latest Borrell Associates study of local online ad revenues. Here's a comparative illustration of the data:

The dead tree guys are losing share as are directories and other print, the so-called pureplay folks are gaining dramatically, broadcast showing relative modest growth from 3.0% to 11.6%; Terry writes "It’s not television versus newspapers; it’s traditional media against new...So media companies will continue to fight for a decreasing share of the local web advertising pie, while pureplays will continue to grow. This is just one of the reasons why we see opportunity increasingly as outside the media brand’s reach/frequency strategy." Spot-on! Read his entire post here.

Wayback machine: Another winter storm here caused me to do some early spring cleaning. Lucky enough to find a copy of Duncan's American Radio from Fall 1977. Here's a look at the Chicago Arbitron, Metro AQH pers. The winning team at WLS included John Gehron and Jim Smith. USA rankings are from tables listing the top fifty stations in the nation by demo. Thanks to James Duncan, Jr.

WLS 225 (#4 in the USA)
WMET 186 (#5 in the USA)
WVON 86 (#26 in the USA)
WDAI 68 (#36 in the USA)
WKQX 68 (#36 in the USA)
WBMX 65 (#40 in the USA)

WLS 454 (#4 in the USA)
WFYR 301 (#10 in the USA)
WLUP 194 (#24 in the USA)
WBMX 183 (#28 in the USA)
WMET 161 (#36 in the USA)
WBBM-FM 160 (#40 in the USA)
WKQX 156 (#45 in the USA)

WLS 551 (#4 in the USA)
WGN 401 (#11 in the USA)
WFYR 318 (#28 in the USA)
WBBM 298 (#30 in the USA)
WLOO 296 (#32 in the USA)
WLAK 278 (#34 in the USA)
WMAQ 268 (#36 in the USA)

The top twenty 18-34 stations in the nation...
WBLS 1083
WABC 717
WPLJ 508
WLS 454
WNBC 382
WKTU 338
KNX-FM 315
WFYR 301
WXLO 287
KRTH 283
KLOS 283
KMET 258
WPIX 252
WWWW 232
WRIF 232
WJIT 218
WNIC 217
WYNY 213

Bonus: We Feel Fine

California red: Cartlidge & Browne, 2006 Pinot Noir. Highly recommended. A simply wonderful red for under $15.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Heather Hopkins, Hitwise Intelligence, offers up some Yahoo! v Google qualitative, here.

Lessig: 20 minutes or so on why I am 4Barack. Count me in. Kudos and thanks Larry!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Image: Life Process of a Successful Community. Jeremiah Owyang writes about the Forrester Report: Online Community Best Practices here. Kudos and thanks to Jeremiah, well done. Susan Mernit adds her take on Jeremiah's post here.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

"Lovers tell each other secrets all the world knows." Miguel Hernandez

"He who is in love is wise and is becoming wiser, sees newly every time he looks at the object beloved, drawing from it with his eyes and his mind those virtues which it possesses." Ralph Waldo Emerson

"A friend is one who knows you and loves you just the same." Elbert Hubbard

Image: I hate u. by northern star. Wonderful. Thanks for sharing.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

"Do what you can, with what you have, where you are." Theodore Roosevelt

"An artist is someone who produces things that people don't need to have but that he, for some reason, thinks it would be a good idea to give them." Andy Warhol

"The last thing anyone would be likely to entertain is an unfamiliar thought." Francis Bacon

Image: tilden park by RyanCS. Fine shot. Thank you!

Susan Mernit: Just got laid off at Yahoo.

Congrats & cheers: Bradley Horowitz joins Google.

Washington state red: House Wine 2005. The Magnificent Wine Company, Prosser, Washington. 54% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 11% Syrah, 3% Malbec, 2% Cabernet Franc. A great value, good table wine under $10.

TED: Howard Rheingold talks about "way-new collaboration" from TED 2005.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

"Zeal conquers all." Kozma Prutkov

"When one has knocked in vain at the door of certain truths, one must try to get in through the window." Joseph Joubert

"One never finishes a work of art; one abandons it." Paul Valery

Today's image: flowers forgotten by bebedas. Beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

The Coming Ad Revolution by Esther Dyson...

"This market will get more competitive, and users will be barraged by ads to which they will pay less and less attention. Call that public space, a world of billboards and cacophony. Even though the ads will be more "relevant" than ever, users will increasingly tune them out.

Now consider the new world of social networks. Facebook, unwittingly or on purpose, has been teaching people to manage their own data about themselves. Facebook's launch of the Beacon service -- which informs Facebook of members' activities (i.e., purchases) on other sites -- was a PR fiasco. But it still familiarized millions of users with the notion that they can control information about themselves online -- and determine to whom it is visible."

Read Esther's entire WSJ article here. Bravos, Esther! Outstanding.

My sense is we are witness to a sea change in privacy. Cohort replacement is changing everything, as it always does, and advertising will be dramatically different as a result. We live in the most exciting and interesting of times. The more we get into what's possible online the more I feel Doc is so totally right about VRM.

Thank you very much: A whole bunch of positive emails about yesterday's post on radio including some from my friends who own or run broadcast and cable companies. The vibe of the traffic is - yes, it is a difficult Q1 but radio (and cable) is doing just fine, thank you. Dead? Fagitabouit, not a chance. Along those lines I noticed this from Dan Kelley's blog. Dan had dinner with a couple of small market radio owners, he tells us..."One of them remarked that the problems of the big companies are simply Wall Street problems and have little direct impact on their operations. They continue to see growth in cash flow and remain highly optimistic about the medium's future." Hey Dan, thanks for sharing (and for the kind words).

The wayback machine: Last consumer-led US recession - 1991; 6 out of 10 radio stations in the US were losing money, cash users. An unintended consequence of those 80/90 additions, this was the real scene setter, the basis in fact (along with HLTs, remember those) for radio's play in the '96 telecom act. Ask any owner who was there. I'll never forget it.

Top secret
: Apple is working to put DAB (digital radio) on the iPhone.

Congrats & cheers: James Hong and Jim Young, those HotOrNot guys, cashing out for about $20 mil.

Monday, February 11, 2008

"You never go farther than when you no longer know where you are going." Goethe

"If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, infinite." Blake

"Always go to other people's funerals; otherwise they won't go to yours." Yogi Berra

Image: Passeggiata by massfell. Beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

Leave it to some that blog to tell you that James Cramer trashed radio, the business, when, in fact, Cramer was talking down radio, the Wall Street investment. His talk was titled "It's over for Radio Stocks" - my emphasis. With all due respect, I disagree with the comments of those blogging Cramer as having delivered news of radio's death. Those bloggers are missing JC's bigger point, they're plainly wrong, it's radio equities that suck not radio. Owning broadcast and cable assets, bought right, remains a very good business.

You will run into some that would have you believe otherwise - they may say radio is dead or at least well on the path to last rites; they have lots of suggestions for how to run things in the end of days. My suggestion is you ask these so-called experts (via comments) 1) what groups have you run? 2) what groups have you owned (your name being on an FCC ownership report) ? 3) what groups have you worked at during an IPO? Ten to one odds, answers in the affirmative will be one or none and being on the payroll during an IPO without being an officer or principal don't really count. Case closed. Bloggers pretending to have the skills required to run a group are just that, pretenders, wannabes if you prefer, nothing more.

It reminds me of talent second guessing management and ownership over beers, everybody is an expert, everyone a genius with the solutions, everyone excepting the guys charged with minding the store, the guys responsible for making the payroll that buy those beers, the guys on the hook to pay down the debt. Yeah, it looks easy, trust me, it ain't. (Catch the JC video here)

Longtime readers know I'm a big JC fan boy, much respect here for Ski Daddy. Those same folk know I've been down on radio stocks for years now. Radio stocks, cable stocks, big media stocks are all out of favor with the street. It's a growth thing, no growth = no respect. Growth being the bitch goddess of Wall Street.

So, no matter what some have said, Cramer is not down on the radio business, he's down on you putting your money into any of the traded radio securities. He's right.

The first tribe of wireless is faced with a great many challenges this year. The traded firms are in an especially bad position. Imagine being asked to change a flat while continuing to maintain course at 55 mph. It's never been done before. The odds are not in your favor. This is the trap of being focused on changing the numerator. The more effective solution set would seem to be one focused on changing the denominator.

Related: Fred Jacobs on the JC video and the state of radio affairs, read Fred's take here.

What gets missed in some of these discussions is perspective.

Radio, as a business, is much more than just the traded outfits. The traded companies get the ink, most of it negative, the hard working and often successful privately held firms, public broadcasters, and community stations get little if any attention or recognition for doing things right. Exhibits abound...Bonneville, Greater Media, Midwest Family, Jerry Lee, etc. The radio trade pubs need to change it up, get into the ongoing business of celebrating folks doing the right things rather than the continuing and too often one dimensional, obsessive focus on the crisis, the ugly meltdowns at the traded companies.

From AdAge - As Giant Retailers Reel, Marketers Gird for Worst...

"Marketers are doing the one thing that they should not be doing right now," said Zain Raj, global practice leader-retail brands at Euro RSCG. "They are out there trying to promote and discount their way to growth. When you have a consumer-confidence issue, it's not about spending less money, it's about spending any money. Marketers need to say 'Here's why you need these things.'"

"You've got to play offense. Now is the time to be aggressive and go out and get market share," said Mike Boylson, exec VP-chief marketing officer, J.C. Penney. The retailer remains committed to the biggest launch in its history later this month, an exclusive brand created in partnership with Polo Ralph Lauren called American Living that will be supported with a splashy campaign debuting during the Academy Awards.

Others are trying to do more with less. ""People are going to have less disposable income, so that's going to change the way we do advertising," said Jose Docabo, senior advertising manager for Home Depot. "We're also going to have to get more creative with less budget."

"Retailers need to take part of their budget and block and take part of it and experiment," said Ric West, exec VP-marketing promotion and production at Sears Holdings.

Read and entire article here.

Going mobile: Next generation of Microsoft innovation focuses on mobile consumer. Release here. Smart, very smart.

Bonus: Kelly O'Keefe

RAB 2008, Atlanta: Doug Zanger Blog, Audio stream

Congrats & cheers: Eric Straus on the agreement to sell his startup to info here.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

"Art is magic delivered from the lie of being truth." Theodor Adorno

"All great deeds and all great thoughts have a ridiculous beginning." Albert Camus

"What is to give light must endure burning." Viktor Frankl

Today's image: PAD 26 by arniphoto. Wonderful. Thanks.

Peter Day, a presenter on matters of business at BBC Radio 4, interviews Richard Sennett on craftsmanship. "...a look at how neglected skills are undermining the way businesses perform." Excellent program, highly recommended. About 30 minutes. Listen here. My thanks to radio programming ace Tom Teuber for the tip. Related: Professor Sennett's new book, The Craftsman, ships next month. Amazon pre-order info.

Boo Yah, Baby - Radio death rattle: Jimmy Cramer says "Radio is finished as we know it but it doesn't seem to matter to the people who are in radio. They have always talked a big game and they'll continue to talk a big game." Video here.

JC is spot-on about radio stocks. It's been said here a number of times before, free cash flow ain't enough. My sense is the pure-play radio guys would be much better off if they stopped doing earnings calls. Jeff, David, Farid, Bill, Ed and all the others should stop playing a game they can't win. Stop making excuses, enough with the graduate level dog-ate-my-homework. Change up the game, stop the earnings calls. This is a leadership issue. Pure and simple.

You can make a difference: Drew Perschon is a child that needs our help, more info here. My thanks to Cara Carriveau for the heads up.

Congrats & cheers: Chicago media rock star Dean Richards interviewed by Rick Kaempfer via his Chicago Radio Spotlight here. Thanks for the kind words, Dean. Kudos to Rick on another fine interview.

Friday, February 08, 2008

"Youth is a defect that corrects itself with time." Enrique Jardiel Poncela

"Knowledge may have its purposes, but guessing is always more fun than knowing." W.H. Auden

"There is a crack in everything. It's how the light gets in." Leonard Cohen

Today's image: Time for bath by Robbi. Fun shot. Thank you.

Dave Winer: "...if Bill can be the first black president, then Barack can be the first woman president."

You are your unsold avail

How broadcasters (and MSOs) are using their unsold avails provides valuable insight.

Locally, one of the network affiliates has been filling unsold avails with news promos and one recruitment ad seeking a seller. The cable operator is filling with ppv, triple play promos and one generic recruitment ad.

Can these avails be put to better, more effective use?

No doubt.

All that is required is imagination and a sensitivity to being of service locally.

One obvious example from this week's local news - our community is close to a serious shortage of blood, donations being off due to the recent bad weather.

Broadcast and cable should rush to the rescue.

Every station, every MSO has unsold avails this quarter.

How you put unsold avails to work says everything about who you are.

Stop running those tired promos.

Start creating and running local messages that help to make a real difference in your community. Localize the unsold avails. Local, local, local.

Bonus: The seven elements of the Tom Peters' (UK), talent-centric business transformation model here.

Congrats & cheers: Danno Wolkoff honored with the 2008 Rockwell Award. Well deserved! Terry Mackin, one very sharp second-generation broadcaster, joins Univision to head their TV station group.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

"Let him that would move the world first move himself." Socrates

"To be surprised, to wonder, is to begin to understand." Jose Ortega Y Gasset

"Nothing is more damaging to a new truth than an old error." Goethe

Today's image: The Last Time by FotoRita. Great shot. Thanks for sharing.

"Branding is not complicated"

Late last year we lost one of the giants of advertising. The gentleman who first gave us the notion of a single football game, the Super Bowl, as the premiere ad vehicle of the year. At heart a writer, he took pen in hand to create memorable classic tag lines including "We bring good things to life," "It's not TV, it's HBO," and "Visa: It's everywhere you want to be."

Phil Dusenberry was a lion in advertising's forest. A former radio guy who done good. (NYT obit)

Let me take a moment, amid all the noise and, too often, pure nonsense being written about branding, and share the unvarnished Dusenberry take. From his wonderful book Then We Set His Hair on Fire...

"Branding is not complicated. A brand is nothing but an expression of the consumer's loyalty and trust. It's a bond, a covenant with the consumer. When you see the brand's name attached to a product, do you trust that the product will deliver a predictable level of satisfaction? If so, you will be loyal to that brand - so loyal that you will stick with it even when a better product comes along. (That loyalty explains why it takes so much time and so much money to steal customers away from a leader. Leaders generate trust and loyalty - in that order. And loyalty makes them hard to unseat at the top.) So loyal that you will not only stick with that product, but when the brand name is attached to a new product, you will buy that product too.

The amazing thing to me is that loyalty - even when it is attached to the vagaries of emotion - is not a vague, amorphous concept. It's hard, it's real, it can be quantified.

One of the main goals of advertising - and by extension, any branding strategy - is to create lifetime customers, not just a short-term spike in sales. And that cohort of loyal lifetime customers lets you protect your sales and revenues far into the future. The sales are ongoing and repeatable. They're the best thing in marketing - the guaranteed transaction. And you can attach a number to those transactions that defines the value of your company's name, what it stands for, what it means to the consumer."

Brilliant! Phil later goes on to say...

"Elevate the product by elevating the emotions attached to the product. You don't need to know much more than that."

One more insight from Phil...

"My earliest mentor, John Bergin, taught me that your reputation rests more on the work you reject than the work you approve. If you don't have a kill rate of 10 to 1, he said, you're standards are too low."

Which begs the question - what's your kill rate?

The following is one of Phil's eighteen guidelines (not rules) for creative directors. Pure gold...

"Be really tough on the work. With the accent on 'really'...the power to stop bad work was the only true power a creative director possessed. You can't predict when the great work appears or if the client will appreciate its greatness or, for that matter, how the public will respond, but you damn well can stop bad advertising from getting out the door...your 'no's' are far more decisive in setting your standards than your 'yes's'...Never let a due date or client meeting the next day convince you that something's ready when you know it isn't. Send it back. Make everybody stay at their desks all night if you have to. Cancel the meeting (as a last resort). And don't feel too bad about it. You'll feel a lot worse if you compromise and let something less than great get through."

Midtown buzz: Sumner Redstone will be honored tomorrow night at a Paley Center black-tie gala held in the city at the Waldorf. Jon Stewart booked as the evening's host has backed out due to a "busy schedule" - ouch! Hearing it will be Charlie Rose to the rescue. Congrats and cheers to Sumner!

Billionaire blogger: Carl Icahn starts blogging (soon) on corporate governance. No kidding, here.

They're back: The Industry Standard once the most important of all pubs to the dot com tribe is returning. This time around no glossy dead tree stuff, nothing but net. Derek Butcher signs on as general manager. Good luck guys.

Bonus: Kevin Kelly, Better Than Free. [via]

Congrats & cheers: Dan Kelley celebrated a year of blogging yesterday. Dan, a rock radio programmer, lost his job in 2007. He got right back to work launching his Classic Rock blog for radio programmers. During the last twelve months Dan posted almost 400 entries. More often than not his posts were a celebration of radio folks doing things right. Moreover, he caught station people (and others) doing the right things and shared his pov on issues of the day. Dan, not yet back in the radio programming ranks, continues doing his homework, a serious student of rock radio. Bravos and thank you for sharing, Dan. Rock on! Read his blog birthday post here.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

"To understand a new idea break an old habit." Jean Toomer

"Genius always consists of conceiving of the self-evident." Hermann Bahr

"Only entropy comes easy." Anton Chekhov

Image: shiny day, today by MartaRu. Great shot. Thanks for sharing.

Tony Quin has written a thoughtful piece offered up in the Feb issue of OMMA...

"So we find ourselves at one of those classic inflection points, where smart, nimble organizations can leapfrog their competition. The only barrier now is the executive will to take action. Whereas the disconnected nature of media in the last century separated sales, marketing and IT, the realities of 21st-century media must bring them together. It has to start within an organization. And with the digital channel acting as the touch point for almost every critical step in the sales process, it's time to unify not only the departments but also the tactics to create a customer-centric strategy that adapts to market conditions in close to real-time. Anything less will open the door to a faster, smarter, more flexible competitor."

Kudos, Tony. Well said.

Bonus: BuzzFeed (Hint: how many widgets do you now, today, have on offer? Are they really cool, totally amazing? What's your take rate? EXPORT!)

Dave Winer sez..."
Losing teaches you that there's more to life than winning, and that's the best lesson possible and it's the one lesson you keep needing to learn over and over until you lose everything, which like it or not is what we all do in the end."


Flickr users weigh in

Congrats & cheers
: Legendary radio programming ace, the uber-cool Jhani Kaye signs again, stays with CBS.

Monday, February 04, 2008

"A clever person solves a problem. A wise person avoids it." Albert Einstein

"Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people." Eleanor Roosevelt

"Opportunities multiply as they are seized." Sun Tzu

Image: Room 7 by Lost America. Amazing. Thanks for sharing.

Interesting discussion of online advertising at last week's OnMedia NYC. Tolman Geffs, managing director at The Jordan Edmiston Group led the conversation. When will online advertising dollars catch up with online viewership? Session video here.

Tolman shared some stats - Ad spend per household (domestic US)...

Newspapers $446
Broadcast TV $383
Cable TV $187
Radio $164
Internet $152

While engagement remains one of most-used buzzwords in the ad game there is not yet agreement on what it means, no generally accepted definition, there are no standards of engagement at this point. It seems to me a more critical measure is attention of which engagement is a moving part, as is participation.

An excellent point was made during Tolman's session. The early internet measurement tools were created by engineers. Hits were the most common measure in the last century (essentially server calls for files). We've moved on to page views and unique visitors but we still have not reached a universal agreement on how those measures are defined.

Accountability is at the heart of this issue. It's what agency folks need to have confidence in the buy.

Congrats & cheers: Rob Barnett and his My Damn Channel team are off to a great '08 posting over one million unique visitors in January. New look/feel and all new features set to debut this Thursday, then next week three new shows join the fold. Check out the latest MDC viral smash You Suck at Photoshop #1

Spanish red: Abadia Retuerta Rivola 2003. A blend of Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon. A really good value at $15 or less.

Friday, February 01, 2008

"Beware of what you do best; it's bound to be a trap." Paul Valery

"We protest against unjust criticism, but we accept unearned applause." Jose Narosky

"As soon as you find you can do something, do something you can't." Rudyard Kipling

Image: Walking... by Atilla1000. Wonderful. Thanks for sharing.

Mel Taylor blogs about local media, about developing revenues online (and off). He reviews the bidding, suggesting "more un-imaginable change" in 2008...

"Internet strategy and revenue generation is now a TOP priority for all media. Oh, and just dumping your offline content… online…. is not gonna be enough"

Read Mel's post here. Kudos, Mel. Well said.

Closed circuit to broadcast CEOs: Get into the export business, now. "The reality of it is that the future does not fit into the containers of the past" says Rishad Tobaccowala speaking at NATPE. More here via AdAge.

More later.