Monday, March 31, 2008

"Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it." Goethe

"Until one is committed there is always hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness." W.N. Murray

"To be confused about what is different is to be confused about everything." David Bohm

Today's image: Back.Door by Chris (archi3d). Beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

The big picture: Frank Nothaft is the chief economist at Freddie Mac. He recently gave a talk at the National Economist Club, his Mortgage and Housing Outlook. The seven word take away - great time to be in the market. For those able to qualify the cost of money is attractive. As the credit markets relate to media, this is a very good opportunity for asset buyers, especially privately held cash buyers. Related: Albert Edwards of Societe Generale on today's market " economic bubble, financed by ridiculously loose monetary policy, is unraveling" For ad-supported local media the metric to watch is retail sales. Experience has taught retail sales and ad spend while imperfectly correlated do seem to run in a pattern, an almost sympathetic rhythm. The Easter Bunny showing up in March certainly didn't help retail this quarter (the rabbit's last March appearance happened in 1913). So as retail remains soft so more than likely will the ad spend. JC Penny is said to have turned in a same-store March off double-digits.

Bloggers behaving badly: Not a week passes without an email containing a link to some blog rant on something gone wrong in broadcast. Those emailing me often ask for my take or simply share with the thought that my blog should link to the rant. Please allow me to offer a bit of reasoning as to why most of those links fail to appear here. Further, let me pose a question - what, if anything, can be learned from these rants?

First, some perspective.

My sense is too often these rants go well beyond snark and are nothing more than ad hominem attacks (properly, these tend to be one of four popular flavors: argumentum ad hominem, argumentum ad individium, argumentum ad populum or argumentum ex silentio). Review of related post comments suggest these attacks are frequently chased by the anonymous, some, the now usual suspects, are trolls, few offer their real name.

A short list of those blogging (or commenting on) broadcast subject matter actually sign their work. Many of those deserve our respect, they're doing (or have done) professional work that gives them credibility. I commend those few who do blog/comment in the open, understanding many are those wanting to weigh in but not able to use their real names without jeopardy to employment. Nonetheless signed or not some are posting rants that are nothing more than pure trash talking bravado. I don't care to share links to such here. "For shameful deeds are taught by shameful deeds" so said Sophocles.

The boards dedicated to broadcast are almost exclusively anonymous. When registration is required those posting might be using one consistent id however without knowing the posting ip readers have no way of knowing how many different identities the same individual may actually employ. In the wild west of boards w/o registration the majority of id seems truly ad hoc.

Some bloggers and a great many board posters have something in common with cab drivers and those in the hair cutting trade, each having managed to crack the code and offer not just an opinion but a bullet proof solution to the most difficult issues of the day. No Gordian knot too challenging. Genius!

To our question. What, if anything, can be learned from this social noise?

As it happens there are recurring themes, patterns in this conversation that may indeed, in context, prove to be valuable. Discounting w/o merit the angry, bitter and typically mean-spirited contributions of the un/under employed, we are witness to a significant body of pov, some informed and considered.

Dissenting opinion deserves a fair hearing.

Many of the problems in broadcast today were created at the top of the organization (a case could be made that corporate remains the wellspring of all problems). There seems to be a very real disconnect today between top leadership and those in the field. What the internet channel provides is a real-time forum that fosters dissent, an important feedback loop offering some well reasoned thought, thought perhaps not frequently enough being transmitted via formal company channels. One of the first warning signs of deep and serious organizational problems is a lack of complaint. When they don't care enough to complain they have most likely given up and retired on the job. It is the social nature of those working in an enterprise to at times be critical of management or in the least vocal, opinionated concerning bad or ineffectual policy/practice to some degree; it is the responsibility of management to stay in tune with the conversations of those working at the business end of the venture. Effective leadership encourages dissent because it opens the door to understanding. Progress demands an understanding of and a sensitivity to the practical reality; it's the unvarnished truth that helps to spark the friction of genuine innovation.


Anonymous said...

david, cheers on another brilliant posting. three radio bloggers that have become tedious and boring imo are delcolliano, gorman and ramsey, those guys are the broken record blogs repeatedly hammering the same tired stuff and the trolls are smarmy that pocketradio troll the worst. then there is hanson one damn fine blogger, his stuff is worth the click. for the record put me down as one who is not able to sign without penalty

Anonymous said...

dave...great points as always about leadership...but the problem may be that so many employees are afraid to speak up in fear of being highly criticized.

Open door policies always foster more creativity but those in the trenchs are running so scared that they be just trying to go 'unnoticed'..not that this is right...but a reality for some.

Anonymous said...

Why has everything become so serious? Jerry and John are two of my all time favorite usetabes. Hacks? Might be but they are FUN reading. Mark does not even take himself seriously the guy even brags of being a futurist and thats gotta be tongue firmly in cheek boasting. Hanson is THE guru of internet broadcasting.

Whatever. My two cents is thanks for a thought provoking article because that is the kind of thing I visit this blog to get and you have paid off the expected again.

Signing off without my name because I have a mortgage and need the job.

Anonymous said...

David, speaking truth to power is potentially dangerous. If I read you right your concept of leadership listening in via the net is a really good strategy. FYI - comments from our station myspace and facebook are the source of occasional gems, diamonds in the rough disguised as complaints. Rock on!

Anonymous said...

After decades in broadcast the most recent years spent as a market manager, I am certain you are right. Being a provider responsible to a family I am equally certain it would be dead wrong for me to waste time telling my boss "the truth" as it would be interpreted as nothing more than "excuse making". Don't let your facts get in the way of company line. We might as well hang a sign at the entry to most stations saying "Surrender all those who enter here" Sad but true. Thanks Dave. Keep fighting for what's right, you're connecting out here whether you know it or not and this is one reader/manager you inspire to do better.

Anonymous said...

ye old internet is big enough for all kind of bloggin

gotta love jerry smackin down cc when all are afraid to do it

for a good laugh nothin like john boy wackin bilko and the coot upside their heads

since were talkin other bloggers what the hell happened to that blogger that geezer tom taylor use to equalizer?

here daily to grab them quotes and download your large brain...cheers

Anonymous said...


No links to the bloggers behaving badly?


Just kidding. Personal attacks are so easy and cheap and wrong and lame and so not cool.

Thanks for taking the high road and calling the cheap shot artists for what they are.

sign me

A fan in the stands

Lee Arnold said...

I find it ironic that all the responses to your latest brilliant diatribe come from folks signed "Anonymous".
Dave Martin: Always a compelling read with less repetition!!!:-)
Lee Arnold