Friday, May 30, 2008

"To escape criticism - do nothing, say nothing, be nothing." Elbert Hubbard

"Without education, we are in a horrible and deadly danger of taking educated people seriously." G.K. Chesterton

"Adversity has the effect of eliciting talents which, in prosperous circumstances, would have lain dormant." Horace

Today's image: Liberty by shinyobject. Great shooting. Thanks for sharing.

Wayback machine: Michael Crichton made a prediction in 1993. He wrote a Wired magazine essay titled "Mediasaurus" wherein he predicted the death of mass media, to wit: "...American media produce a product of very poor quality...It's flashy but it's basically junk." Crichton suggested future consumers would crave high quality information and be willing to pay for it. Jack Shafer revisits the writing via Slate here.

Remembering radio: A lot of chatter about radio this week. Here are a few items that may help to put things into perspective.

"Radio is Doomed"
Headline from Look magazine
[April 26, 1949, p. 66]

"Any law forcing a sameness of radio, forcing a programming common denominator, acts as a protection to the talentless, a shield for the lazy, a haven for the idea thief, a legal shelter and sanction for the mediocre."

Gordon McLendon
[As quoted, Gordon McLendon: The Maverick of Radio by Ronald Garay]

"I have never bought a radio station for other than one reason: because I believed I could improve its programming and make it a success...Our philosophy in deciding whether to buy a certain station in a certain market has always been: Is there some program service of utility to a large enough group here that is either (a) not now being provided or (b) not being provided as well as we can provide it?"

Gordon McLendon
[ As quoted, The Development of the Top 40 Radio Format by David MacFarland]

"There were people doing things, both commercially and noncommercially, that were very exciting and wonderfully off the wall. And at times awful. But it was based on risk-taking, something that is antithetical to almost any radio now."
Larry Yurdin

"...a new kind of novel that he writes nightly. The mike is his pen and paper. His audience and their knowledge of the daily events of the world provide his characters, his scenes and moods."
Marshall McLuhan
[speaking of the show by WOR talent Jean Shepherd]

"I like disc jockeys that are essentially groupies, who love their music and take it home with them and are involved with it to a degree that approaches fanaticism."
Tom Donahue

"All research does is give you answers to questions you ask...It's up to you to know that you're asking the right questions...Far too often, research is used to be noncreative."
John Parikhal

Bonus: Video impresario Michael Rosenblum is on a mission. One you should be paying attention to...

"...when you walk into the New York Times, every single person in the building, from the receptionist to the publisher knows how to read and write. They also have a word processing machine on their desktop. If they get an idea, they are encouraged to write. Adam Liptak, corporate lawyer for the paper often also reports on legal matters for the paper. It is a hive of literacy and creativity.

If you walk into a TV network, however, it is more akin to walking into an insurance company.

Row after row of cubicles and fluorescent lighting. Industrial carpeting.

And most remarkably, a staff that by and large are both illiterate in the medium in which they are working, and also denied access to the tools of creativity."

Read the entire post A Commitment to Literacy here. Bravos, Michael! In my experience you can learn just about everything you need to know about a media operation by its lobby, offices and the way they answer the phone, direct your call.

Gillmor Gang: Steve chats up the FriendFeed co-founders. Bret Taylor and Paul Buchheit submit to the whims of the Gang. [MP3 audio w/comments] Kudos, Steve. Well done, Bret & Paul.

Congrats & cheers: Steve Harris joins ESPN Radio as Senior Director of Audio Content.

Thanks for stopping by. Have a wonderful weekend. See you next week with a brand new show.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

"No passion in the world is equal to the passion to alter someone else's draft." H.G. Wells

"It's all that the young can do for the old, to shock them and keep them up to date." George Bernard Shaw

"Never assume that habitual silence means ability in reserve." Geoffrey Madan

Today's image: Sienna 16 by Modetrend. Beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

Where the hell is Bill Drake and Tom Donahue?

Radio programming ace and marketing maven Lee Arnold cares enough about the first tribe of wireless to ask that question. His's high time we revisit our so-called Halls of Fame. Lee's take is spot-on. Read his post here and another on the great Joe Kelly here. Bravos, Lee! Thank you. And please permit me to add: Where the hell is Chuck Blore, Bob Henabery, Rick Sklar, Bill Gavin, Ron Jacobs, Paul Drew, Kent Burkhart, Harvey Glascock, Scott Muni, Jack Thayer, Lucky Cordell, Jerry Boulding, Bill Kaland, Ted Atkins, Pat O'Day, James Gabbert, Rick Carroll, George Burns, Jim Schulke, Kevin Sweeney, Dick Rakovan, New RadioStar's Bob Hamilton, Jean Shepherd, Dick Harris, Larry Bentson, Bill Burton, George Wilson, Martha Jean "The Queen" Steinberg, John Rook, Al Heacock, Larry Glick, Al Benson, Jim Yergin, Ron Chapman, Jockey Jack Gibson and Dickie Rosenfeld. Don't get me started.

LATER: Dan Kelley, keeper of the flame for Classic Rock FM, joins the conversation adding Buzz Bennett, more here.

Michael Fischer: As serious a student of advertising (and popular culture) as I know, Michael offers up a recap of his latest trip to LA here. Kudos, Michael.

Tis the season: FriendFeed swag

Bonus: Veronica Belmont's Top 10 Up-and-Coming Web Applications. BrandDoozie (beta, natch, cool DIY marketing tool, check it out)

Congrats & cheers: Ali Partovi & team ilike OnHollywood overall winner. Other OnHollywood winners include, Bret Taylor and crew at FriendFeed [FD: N=1 most addictive, fav app of the moment], Loic Le Meur & company Seesmic. Nick Grouf & team Spot Runner. Ben Elowitz & WetPaint. Congrats to all [Complete list of winners]. The uber-cool Laurie Pracher named VP/Sales @ CBS Radio Sales, she was born to be great.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

"What magic there is in a girl's smile. It is the raisin which, dropped in the yeast of male complacency, induces fermentation." P.G. Wodehouse

"Nothing succeeds like reputation." John Huston

"Television contracts the imagination and radio expands it." Terry Wogan

Today's image: Cool Hand Luke by NontrivialMatt. Great shot. Thank you for sharing.

Inside baseball: Radio sports ace Les Grobstein delivered a rant yesterday during The Big 89 Rewind on WLS. Les wondered why sports radio stations in Chicago were not offering fans anything worth listening to at night or overnight (pbp excepted). His suggestion being Chicago was not some backwater and fans deserved better than dated (i.e., delayed) syndicated programming. Les made a valid point. He said out loud what fans must be thinking, he was speaking as an advocate for the listener. Kudos, Les.

The quick, easy and wrong answer would accuse operators of being cheap, too cheap for their own good some would say. My sense is the more honest, pragmatic answer would involve sales making this an issue of risk management. 7pm - 5am inventory is perhaps the most undervalued asset in radio. The problems related to a lack of demand are exacerbated by management's benign neglect. One could make the case that the majority of stations (of every format) have decided that this 41% of their daily inventory is just not worth the effort, not worth the investment in programming nor the attention and focus of sellers. This serves as an excellent exhibit in self-fulfilling prophecy.

Operators are not willing to invest in product because they are convinced demand will not be there no matter the audience developed. Being #1 at night too often viewed as a Pyrrhic victory - "So what, we can't sell it!" This is the same logic frequently used in walking away from renewal of sports rights - "We can no longer make the math work." While it may indeed be easier to save a dollar than to bring a dollar in, that's no way to build or grow a business. This is another bad habit developed over the years become accepted practice. As Samuel Johnson reminded "The chains of habit are too weak to be felt until they are too strong to be broken."

The dirty little secret here is nobody likes live sports programming at night or overnight but the listeners. They never got the memo giving them the heads up that all the good stuff happens between 5a and 7p. The cost-benefit calculus ensures management remains averse to any 7pm - 5am investment. The elephant in this room is sales. We have a crisis of confidence when it comes to betting on 7pm - 5am programs because the conventional wisdom tells us that even if we do develop a strong following we won't be able to monetize it sufficiently. The result is a kind of prior restraint with respect to programming innovation and audience development. Moreover, a market for barter programming is created and sustained. My thought is this is the crucible of Les' finding, that time and place devoid of acceptable options. Not to disparage network or syndi offerings, there's an abundance of good properties out there. It seems to me, at the core of this argument, we're talking the quality of local execution.

Clearly, the solution set involves creating demand and teaching sellers how to be much more effective. Imagine a day as being one hour, would you throw away almost 25 minutes of that hour? 7pm - 5am, nothing but upside. No matter your format, give it a go. Make something happen. Why continue pushing to make 100% of your number depending on only some amount close to 59% of your inventory. You can and should be using it all. Forget getting better. Start getting different. Change the denominator. The words of Hunter S. Thompson come to mind "Buy the ticket, take the ride."

Here's the biggest single competitive advantage - should you get serious and try this - it's all yours, no one is likely to follow. 41% of radio's daily inventory seems a terrible thing to waste. Can I get a witness?

LATER: Sales rock star Sheila O'Connor and others weigh in via comments. Thank you very much.

Bonus: Soundflavor

Four criteria: Gap CEO Glenn Murphy suggests four criteria that justify marketing spending; The brands must have...

  • Good product
  • Well-run retail environments
  • "Imaginative, creative" message for the target consumer
  • Be able to answer the questions: "Is the consumer ready to respond to the marketing? What is the psyche of the consumer? How are they feeling at that moment?"

More, thanks to Natalie Zmuda writing TV Ads 'a Waste of Money' for Back-in-Black Gap, via AdAge.

Same cool night feed, different damn channel: Web 2.o impresario Rob Barnett has moved the flag, his blog is now here. Please make a note of it.

Congrats & cheers: Rob Curley joins the Las Vegas Sun. Les Moonves & CBS for agreeing to join the 4A/ANA task force on ad integration fees. Eddie McLaughlin and Bob Bruno on their induction into the New York Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame. Good to see NYBA is also honoring the great Roger King.

Monday, May 26, 2008

"The intellect has little to do on the road to discovery. There comes a leap in consciousness, call it intuition or what you will, and the solution comes to you and you don't know how or why. All great discoveries are made in this way." Albert Einstein

"I get the facts, I study them patiently, I apply imagination." Bernard Baruch

"Either do not attempt at all, or go through with it." Ovid

Today's image: Royal Poinciana by Sanibeljac. Wonderful. Thank you for sharing.

"It's all in the casting"

That's wisdom attributed to the great directors. Steven Spielberg said "I feel that 40% of my creative effort has been realized once the people have been cast in the film. I use actors to service me in what I'm doing." [via]

This blogger holds a few truths to be self-evident including this one...

"We believe the recruitment, development and retention
of exceptionally gifted talent is the wellspring of every great enterprise."

Your business is only as good as the talent involved. The potential of your venture is equal to the potential of the talent engaged. The most critically important job of the manager is to recruit, develop and retain exceptionally gifted talent. Talent = Everybody. As Tom Peters has written...

Your brand = Your talent

Radio programming ace and marketing maven Lee Arnold pays tribute to Dick Meeder, the best manager he never worked for and in the process tells a good story and talks leadership..

"...Some were great at what they did. Some were 'dear' friends. Some left me alone to do my job. Others meddled constantly. Some were generous and out going. Some were cheap. Some were leaders. Some were afraid of leaders."

Read Lee's post here. Bravos, Lee!

Word to the wise
: General Georges Doriot, Harvard Business School professor and president of American Research and Development (ARD)...

  • One should not only be able to criticize but should always have a suggestion to make.
  • Ask about prospects who didn't buy product.
  • Always challenge the statement that nothing can be done about a certain condition.

My thanks to Fred Wilson for sharing these quotations. More here. Fred added another Doriot quote, a killer, via Tumblr "A team made up of the younger generation, with courage and inventiveness, together with older men of wisdom and experience, should bring success." Fred is taking these quotes from the book - Creative Capital by Spencer E. Ante [Amazon info]

Memorial Day 2008.

A day to remember.

The joys of our liberty were purchased by those who paid the ultimate price.

No matter your politics, those women and men who wear the uniform, those who once wore the uniform, honorably, deserve our respect and appreciation.

Those that put themselves into harms way in our name deserve more than they're getting.

This is especially true with regard to the discussions concerning a new revised GI bill. Let your elected representatives know how you feel about this important issue.

Image: Half-Mast by
Tom Rydquist. Thanks for sharing.

: Tag Galaxy. [Related - backstory via Mashable]

Congrats & cheers: WGN America. Sean Compton, Randy Michaels, Lee Abrams & crew on the rebranding of Superstation WGN. Kipper McGee and company at WLS. The Big 89 Rewind is a smash. Kudos to Jim Smith for cooking a very cool, tight music log. [Related - Sneak of Art's 2008 video via YouTube]. NASA & JPL on the Phoenix Mars Lander touch down. HBO, Recount!

Grapes - overlooked reds: Some good values in red table wine under $10. Secret de Campane 2006 (60% Grenache, 30% Old Carignan, 10% Cinsault). Beringer Founders' Estate, Merlot 2004. Bogle Merlot 2005.

Friday, May 23, 2008

"Whose cruel idea was it for the word 'lisp' to have an 's' in it." George Carlin

"The 'silly question' is the first intimation of some totally new development." Alfred North Whitehead

"Silence is one of the hardest arguments to refute." Josh Billings

Today's image: Keukenhof by prophead. Awesome. Thanks for sharing.

Change involves deciding. You can decide to embrace change making the best of it, to fight change working to preserve some version of the status quo or to ignore change. No matter how you decide, change - to some degree - will happen. So, how does one decide? My suggestion is you need to make an informed decision. You need to do your homework.

Here's an example. In the last century Arbitron proposed a series of major changes to advance radio ratings. One of the most controversial was the introduction of monthly data, Arbitrends. Industry opinion was mixed. Some saw "trends" as mere escalation in an ongoing ratings war, an answer to the already established Birch Monthly. Some predicted "trends" would fall into the hands of buyers and disrupt market pricing. Many were concerned with the statistical validity of the data. All objected to paying more to get the new data. "Didn't we already pay for that data? Now, we have to pay for it again?" being typical of the comments.

We did our homework and became the first major market group to sign an Arbitrends contract. Hearing of this signing the majority of our peers said we had made an evil pact, a Faustian bargain. Emotions ran high. We had done something that would only encourage Arbitron. Surely, "trends" would cause irrefutable harm in unimaginable ways. We had sold out, taken the wrong side.

In those early days of Arbitrends the product was not without problems. We made it through the changes by working with Arbitron. Things were made better.

Which brings me to PPM. Radio needs electronic measurement. It's time. We can and should work with Arbitron and any other firms that care to take on that challenge. We need to keep in mind that three years from now media measurement will be as different from today as today is from twenty years ago. Let's be a part of that process. One more quote...

"If you don't like change, you're going to like irrelevance even less" General Eric Shenseki

Congrats & cheers: Bruce Ravid on yesterday's very cool radio Raveathon on Madison student radio station WSUM. During the broadcast Bruce featured a rich mix of music, conversation and a special announcement. Chancellor John Wiley announced a donation will be made made to assist WSUM in moving to new studios this summer.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

"Wooing the press is an exercise roughly akin to picnicking with a tiger. You might enjoy the meal but the tiger always eats last." Maureen Dowd

"Wagner's music is better than it sounds." Mark Twain

"All professions are conspiracies against the laity." George Bernard Shaw

Today's image: Enter Night by Celine C. Wonderful. Thank you for sharing.

Radio: Doing exactly the right thing, precisely the wrong way

Two examples of radio getting in its own way, again.

Posting. The topic typically begins as a discussion concerning accountability however the real issue here is transparency. We are beyond the "to post or not to post" argument, it's now a matter of how and when. Radio should be leading the revolution, developing leading-edge tools that make it easier to buy and evaluate. It's been said recently that posting is "counter-intuitive." What's intuitive here is accountability and transparency are not fads, far from it, they are part and parcel to conducting the business of advertising in a new era.

PPM. The Cox and ICBC trade ad seems to be an ignoble attempt to foment a subscriber rebellion. This represents nothing more than a return to the good old fashioned sport of Arbitron bashing. Incongruous manners writ large. The ad's writers would have us believe that Steve Morris is somehow tone deaf on the serious issues and stakes involved in PPM roll out. Accordingly, they direct that Steve be dealt the proper and needed wakeup call. The ad evokes a kind of odd Howard Beale vibe. Clearly, the ad writers are mad as hell but it seems fair to ask - what does the ad actually accomplish besides being an embarrassment?

Posting and PPM will be what we make of them, both are works in progress. Each are opportunities rich with potential. What's needed now is the serious stuff and hard work of creative collaboration.

Buzz: Radio programming ace Jim Smith

Congrats & cheers: Uber-mensch Bruce Reese honored with the NAB National Radio Award. Radio Mercury Awards. Up against the Lakers v Celtics they pulled it off way good in Beverly Hills last night. The big $100k winner - Broken Heart ("What your mom would feed you, if your mom was a man") TBWA\Chiat\Day New York. Big ups to "voice of God" George Hyde, Jeff Haley, Rick Cummings, Perez Hilton, Big Boy, Rick Dees, Erica Farber, Mary Beth Garber. Doug and Justin did an outstanding job hosting the live stream, including the cool after set w/Big Boy All the winners here.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

"Playing 'bop' is like playing scrabble with all the vowels missing." Duke Ellington

"Foolproof systems do not take into account the ingenuity of fools." Gene Brown

"Without music, life would be a mistake." Nietzsche

Today's image: Ode to Ansel Adams by Thomas Hawk. Beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

Confusing activity with progress

The temptation is to be seduced by activity, seduced into believing that activity is progress. It's not.

Activity and progress should be related, accepting the imperfect correlation; progress being measurable movement toward the objective, the productive outcome of that activity which proves effective.

The key is measurement and coming to terms with measure as the arbiter.

Establish a solid feedback loop and act on the findings. Understand what's working, what's not working and constantly change up the game to improve the result.

Inertia and incrementalism are the enemies. As discussed here previously, it's the strategy trap of focusing exclusively on the numerator. The real leverage is in changing the denominator.

One needs to come to grasp the new reality and to get a deep understanding of the developing sea change - the rock n roll of this generation is interactive media. The digital natives are not playing by our rule sets, they're choosing to do what we once did, they're making it up from scratch. This does ensure one new practice to be the safe and conservative best bet - the smart guys are putting their five year operating plan on a magic slate.

To get some perspective, let's look at some big numbers.

The US measured media ad spend in 2007 was about $149 billion [TNS]. The direct marketing spend in 2007 was about $173 billion [DMA]. The subtotal being $322 billion ($1.8 b FSI dollars duplicated in the TNS data).

RAB put US radio in 2007 at $21.3 billion (RAB measures are significantly different than TNS for radio). TVB using TNS data placed 2007 US broadcast TV at $46.5 billion. IAB posted 2007 online revenues at $21.2 billion. The subtotal being $89 billion.

Then there are all those other guys. Let's take one.

The promotional products industry captured more than $18.8 billion in 2006 expenditures [PPAI]. That's a bunch of money to promote products, services and companies one coffee mug, mouse pad or free sample at a time.

Get this - there are more than 20,000 promotional consultant firms in the US alone and that's 2007 data. Compare that to the 17,412 radio and television stations now on the air. Dividing broadcast by two, as a very rough estimate, equals a ground game of 8,706 vs 20,000. PPAI, the promotional products trade association, is older than broadcasting, they celebrated their 100th anniversary in 2003.

We won't even get into product placement, restroom ads or gaming. The point is, by any measure, there's an incredible amount of money in play. Why think small in a space this big.

My suggestion is radio teams should be playing for more than their share of $21.3 billion, TV staffs should be fighting for more than their piece of the $46.5 billion.

The real opportunities, the big money and growth are outside the silo, it's supplemental by nature, it's real off the rez biz dev stuff. That's where you'll discover progress. Inside the silo, it's all activity. Growth vs stasis and entropy. Denominator vs numerator. Why spend time and valuable resources getting better at a game that is being played less and less. Change the game.

Every platform counts, no single one being more important than the other in share of mind or agenda. It's not about radio or TV. It's about audio, video and all things interactive. My notion is no professionals are better positioned to reinvent audio and video, to reimagine wireless than broadcasters, the first and second tribes of wireless. In the emerging worlds of pro-am development incredible opportunities abound. It's a leadership issue, we need to get serious and compete for the future. Incumbency is increasingly irrelevant, we need to employ the remaining leverage we have and do it now. Use it or lose it may sound like high drama but you may wish to think again about that before dismissing the potential window of opportunity now present.

No, it's not the job you signed up for but it's the one at hand. What's needed now is imagination and game-changing innovation. The great news is the bigger than you can possibly imagine payoff is prospectively available for the taking and it's right here - outside your silo. See ya there.

Getting the band back together: WLS, The Big 89 Rewind. Kudos to radio programming ace Kipper McGee.

Don't miss it, if you can: Impresario Bruce Ravid rides into MadTown tomorrow and takes temporary control of transmission at radio station WSUM. Certain to be more memorable moments of Madison media madness, join the famous '74 grad as he kicks off the 7-hour Raveathon beginning at 1pm tomorrow. To ensure the high standards WSUM listeners have come to expect (and for Bruce's own personal safety), students and station staff will be on hand to observe and participate. For locals it's 91.7 FM, while the world tunes in via stream here. My thanks to radio programming ace Tom Teuber for the advanced warning.

Congrats & cheers: Advertising ace David Verklin signed to lead Project Canoe, the cable tv industry initiative tasked with creating new approaches to targeted sales. Expect the announcement next month. Caroline Marks signs on as GM of the yet to launch IAC news aggregator site headed by the uber-cool Tina Brown. Tom Taylor celebrates one year of posts at Radio-Info.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

"All our final decisions are made in a state of mind that is not going to last." Marcel Proust

"A lot of people are afraid of heights. Not me - I'm afraid of widths." Steven Wright

"An idea that is not dangerous is unworthy of being called an idea at all." Oscar Wilde

Today's image: Ode To The Duck by Cornerstone. Great shot. Thank you for sharing.

Scarborough Research: Understanding the Digital Savvy Consumer. Survey says 6% of the US population (projected to 13.8 mil adults) are "leading edge" digital consumers, the early adopters. 6 of the top 10 Digital Savvy cities are in the west. Top ten DMAs: Austin, Las Vegas, Sacramento, San Diego, Washington DC, Seattle, Phoenix, Chicago, New York, San Francisco. They are more likely to be male and 77% are under the age of 44 (more than half are under 34, the median age). More likely to be Asian or US born Hispanic. Getting news and info online 38% read blogs vs 8% of the less than savvy population. 22% visit radio station sites, 18% visiting TV station sites. They are heavy downloaders of music and video. 33% listen to radio online vs the general population of 9% that do so. Free PDF download of exec summary here.

From BBC: The Sound Index. Interesting. A tracking of comments, posts, plays and views. #1 track, Mercy by Duffy. #1 artist Coldplay. Involved in the project bebo,, YouTube, MySpace, Google, iTunes. Find it here.

Thought leaders - Country radio: CRB offers Executive Memo where radio and music industry folks can share their thoughts. A good read here. My thanks to Ed Salamon, the best evangelist there is in Country.

Required reading: Publius Project, an initiative by the Berkman Center at Harvard, presents "essays and conversations about constitutional moments on the Net." It's all good, you should really check it out. Highly recommended. Here's the jump.

Bonus: Testing - 72 questions reveal who you are. The test scored me type ENFJ. Friends are telling me that's spot-on. The stats suggest 3% of the population are type ENFJ, 1.5% of males, 4.5% of females. My sense is we're a small but vocal tribe. Bonus 2: TuneGlue

Class act: Keeve Berman has passed. A newsperson's newsperson, Keeve was a gifted radio anchor, a reporter advantaged with keen instincts and a leader. As a college kid living in the city I cold called radio stations looking for a job. Keeve took my call. Telling him I had no audition tape to send, he said "that's ok" and invited me in for an audition. Arrived at the storied 1440 Broadway studios of RKO Radio's WOR and WXLO on the appointed day. Keeve could not have been more kind, a perfect gentleman, a total professional. He handed me some wire copy and walked me to the studio. Clearly, I was not ready for primetime but he gave me some good advice. "Get some experience and come back again" he said. Not many news managers take cold calls from kids looking to break into the biz but then again there have never been many news managers like Keeve Berman. Keeve made an impression on me, he confirmed my thinking that RKO Radio was the outfit I wanted to work for someday. Footnote: I was later recruited to join RKO Radio in Chicago and always enjoyed dropping by 1440 when ever in the city. The lesson here is you just never know who's calling - take the call. An important part of every manager's job is to discover talent before you need them. Take charge of creating a positive first impression about your company when strangers come calling. Long after they've forgotten what you said they'll still remember how you made them feel.

Closed circuit to CBS News: Public Eye has been silent since last December. Might want to redirect that landing page url, it's still blogrolled at a bunch of good journo sites.

Nielsen: Caroline McCarthy blogs the latest Nielsen metrics via the social @ CNET News here. The following table courtesy of her post. Kudos, Caroline and thanks for sharing. Click on table to enlarge. [Related buzz: LinkedIn is killing out there, pacing to do $100 mil in rev this year, some now saying it could be worth $1 billion]

Monday, May 19, 2008

"I'm not finished, because I'm still curious." Barry Diller

"Nature is garrulous to the point of confusion; let the artist be truly taciturn." Paul Klee

"However much you knock at nature's door, she will never answer you in comprehensible words." Ivan Turgenev

Today's image: Claudia, lost in the Garage by Portrait and Fashion Photographer. Great shooting. Thank you for sharing.

Danger, Will Robinson: Thanks to Barron's scribe Alan Abelson we learn the updated report from those smart guys at hedge fund T2 Partners bears title language including "We are still in the early innings of the bursting of the housing and credit bubbles..."

Then there's the University of Michigan consumer confidence survey hitting a 28-year low, and that pesky $4-a-gallon gasoline. S&P 500 first-quarter earnings down 25.9% from the same quarter last year. [Up and Down Wall Street, 5/19]

The recent buzz about online rates is CPMs have headed south. My sense is online is still pacing up at 20 something percent. The danger for sellers is depending on the usual suspects to deliver their month. Sales leadership needs to be more focused on developing new business including new categories. While this environment is certainly challenging to sellers now is a great time for buyers to invest in advertising. Rates are attractive and you'll gain share of voice (especially valid should your competitors fail to spend). The most optimum time to advertise is when others are not. As baseball player Wee Willie Keeler famously said "...hit 'em where they ain't."

Buzz: Vegas odds say...Mr Softy buys Yahoo (at least Search now says Arrington) then Facebook (so say others). Stay tuned.

Pre-order: Outliers the new book by Malcolm Gladwell is now on offer at Amazon for $18.47 - info here. Related 800-CEO-READ

Say it ain't so: Firefox checks their own box. Do the custom install option and you can uncheck the box making Firefox your default browser. Shame on Mozilla. Opt-out, bad. Opt-in, good.

If I give you my business card, do I give you the right to publish it on the internet? The Comcast-Plaxo, CBS-CNET deals and the important data portability issue (think last week's Facebook smack down of Google) gets thrown around and the discussion is nothing less than informative, if not plainly and purely entertaining (thanks to Steve Gillmor, Sam Whitmore, Michael Arrington, Robert Scoble, Chris Saad, Marc Canter) in the latest Gillmor Gang podcast. Don't start tomorrow without it [Audio, MP3 Heads up, NSFW - language]. Bravos, guys. Good show! [Related: Marc Canter details his argument here]

Agenda item: The issues discussed in the Gillmor Gang podcast above are more important than one might first believe. We are at the beginning, the early days of a very real "data war." This amounts to nothing less than an arms race for some kind of control of user identity. Fair warning - get deep into this issue, now. What's in your ToS (and how well you play w/others) will play a role in the future of what's in your wallet.

Congrats & cheers: May sweeps winners, Fox leads 18-49, CBS leads in households and total viewers. The strike seems to have been the primary factor in 18-49 viewing being down almost 20% vs last year. The young guns of wireless being honored by Edison Media Research [names named here] Ken Fisher and team Ars Technica acquired by Conde Nast.[Ken's announcement]

Bonus x 3: 21 Accents + Ex-Boyfriend Jewelry + Ztail

Lost in space, the reality show: They call it "The Pioneer Anomaly." For reasons yet unknown something has dragged Pioneer 10 and Pioneer 11 a quarter-million miles off course. Robert Lee Hotz, WSJ's Science Journal editor chats about the anomaly in the following video. Could Newton and Einstein be wrong?

Sunday, May 18, 2008

"I've failed over and over and over again in my life. That's why I succeed." Michael Jordan

"Whether you think that you can or you can't, you're usually right." Henry Ford

"He who makes no mistakes never makes anything." English proverb

Today's image: Blooming Capitol by WisDoc. Beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

Firefox 3 Release Candidate 1 is now on offer. Using it and lovin it so far. Much faster than beta 5. Download and info here.

: Snackr

Friday, May 16, 2008

"Fortune always leaves some door open in misfortune." Cervantes

"Life is the hesitation between an exclamation and a question. Doubt is resolved by a period." Fernando Pessoa

"The man who sticks to his plan will become what he used to want to be." James Richardson

Today's image: Croatia 2004 by kruijffjes. Awesome. Thanks for sharing.

Have a wonderful weekend. Back next week with a brand new show.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

"Talent does what it can; genius does what it must." Edward Bulwer-Lytton

"Genius is an infinite capacity for taking pains." Thomas Carlyle

"Genius, in truth, means little more than the faculty of perceiving in an unhabitual way." William James

Today's image: Surfing's Finished by Ponder. Beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

Bonus: If you Twitter you'll enjoy this.

Michael Moschen at TED: Juggling rhythm and motion. Behold, visual music. "A moment of learning." Amazing!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

"Mistakes are the portals of discovery." James Joyce

"Mediocrity knows nothing higher than itself, but talent instantly recognizes genius." Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

"I'm forever raising the high bar and breaking my neck to clear it." John Kluge

Today's image: Surrealist Twist by AndyKapped. Awesome. Thanks for sharing.

What's the second most misunderstood word in the business lexicon? Innovation, so says branding and marketing ace Tom Asacker. Tom's right about that and right again in declaring the most misunderstood word to be brand. We can all learn something from Tom. Here's the first part of Tom's definition of innovation...

"Innovation is the successful introduction of a new idea that results in a more desirable customer experience, and..."

Complete that sentence and get Tom's insight on this much talked about (and too often misunderstood) subject, read his latest article The Enemy of Innovation, here's the jump. Highly recommended. Bravos, Tom!

"Nothing stops technology, nothing."

That's one important lesson learned from my dear friend, mentor and former partner the legendary Larry Bentson. The company that started in the motion picture exhibition business (you may know that as the movie theater or cinema trade) got into radio when radio was to kill the movies, then into TV when TV was to kill movies and radio, then Cable when Cable TV was to be the certain death of movies, radio and broadcast TV. The day I joined the firm they still owned every one of those businesses, had for decades and everything was successful or very successful.

Our mission was to stay ahead of the curve. The daily question being...What's next? The objective at hand...keep the plates we have spinning, add new plates.

We built a video retailing chain (remember, they were going to kill theaters, TV and Cable), got serious about building a telephony-communications firm (the phone is the future!), acquired the largest teleport in North America (sat delivery would soon be king), started a software development company (computers will be ubiquitous and they'll need software), launched a leisure services company (marinas could benefit from professional management including market research) and a bunch of other stuff. The point of this story is staying current is really important. Larry used to say when people asked why he got into so many competing and varied businesses "We're basically paranoid about losing everything and like to keep the portfolio diversified. We like to get into new things early."

As the partner responsible for marketing and sales let me say it was big fun. Over a dozen learning curves. Learned a bunch but the key take away comes back to Larry's one liner "Nothing stops technology, nothing." Getting a grasp of this, a deep understanding of what's happening around you is powerful. Early indications can be very important. The guy who is living on the leading edge of TV news, no...make that the future of video journalism is Michael Rosenblum. Please, come with me, see the future here. Thank you Michael, well done.

The real story: The one you won't read anywhere else. The back story on how the Clear Channel deal came around. Heidi N. Moore has done a fine job dishing the detail via, check it out here. Kudos to Heidi!

Bonus: Harve Alan

More future, more often: Eric Savitz provides excellent coverage of the week's single coolest event - The Churchill Club's Top Ten Tech Trends Dinner. Here are some headlines, complete post by Eric at the jump.

  • "Demographics are destiny, creating opportunity"
  • "The mobile phone will be a mainstream personal computer"
  • "Water tech will replace global warming as a priority"
  • "Evolution trumps design"
  • "Within five years everything that matters to you will be available to you on a device that fits on your belt or in your purse"
Read At The Churchill Club: The Top Ten Tech Trends here.

They must be stopped: Gen X vs The Millennials. Robert Lanham fires the first shot via Radar here.

Astro buzz: Flash 10

Blogs you should know about (but probably never heard of): The Industry Standard's Top 25 B-to-Z List

Congrats & cheers: Les and Quincy on CBS acquiring CNET for 1.8 billion cash. Comcast bought Plaxo, deal closed today (thanks to Michael Arrington via FriendFeed).

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

"Yesterday's weirdness is tomorrow's reason why." Hunter S. Thompson

"Our Age of Anxiety is, in great part, the result of trying to do today's jobs with yesterday's tools." Marshall McLuhan

"As a rule, what is out of sight disturbs men's minds more seriously than what they see." Julius Caesar

Today's image: 007 by honan4108. Amazing. Thank you for sharing.

The media player wars

Ephemeral solutions

Art as metaphor

Dave Winer, quoted in a new writing [Who controls your data?] by Doc Searls, says "The tech industry is organized around the concept of wars...if there's money to be made in controlling users, there's been a war to lock those users in...Having seen a number of these wars, and seeing each of them end not in triumph, but irrelevance, I believe we're getting closer to the end of the warfare defined by social networks...Open is a funny thing, you can't be partially open. You can't edge your way toward open. You can't be open and hold the valuable stuff in reserve for yourself." Brilliant.

My thought is the big media companies are engaged in a war of media players. Resources are being dedicated in yet another protracted online battle, the spoils being the solution needed to cut the Gordian knot known as lock in. The rules of engagement are clear - the best walled garden wins. The flaw is in the logic driving these efforts. Media companies are focused on developing a unilateral advantage based on remaining solely in the import business (i.e., importing viewers and listeners). This mindset fails to recognize the increasing irrelevance of the home page and the need to develop new business models based on getting into the nascent business of export (i.e., exporting content). My suggestion here is we are reaching the point of incremental optimization as it relates to Web 1.0 and need to get serious about concurrent Web 2.0 development. Broadcasters no strangers to "live" have an urgent need to focus resources and share of agenda on the "Live Web."

The latest generation of media players deployed by big media continue, by design, to perpetuate the walled garden and with it the mythical quest for lock in. To prosper in the coming sea change, one in part driven by social media, content needs to be digital, discoverable, export friendly and truly platform agnostic. Today's media player solutions are ephemeral. The latest player initiative by CBS Radio while a step in the right direction is just that - only a step. There are miles to go before they sleep and please read that as praise and no disrespect for the nothing less than jump to light speed made by Dan Mason and his colleagues. The CBS Radio initiative seems fundamentally distracted, it's perhaps an elegant present day solution to one of yesterday's problems - online streaming. One hopes there's something Media-Web 2.0 cooking in the digital kitchens of Quincy Smith.

While we're talking CBS let me set the record straight and give Dan Mason some credit he is not getting elsewhere. It has been proffered that Dan's CBS could care less about appealing to the youth market, this is suggested within the context of the larger imperfect argument that the youth no longer listen to radio. Patently false on both counts. During Dan's watch CBS has started up stations targeting youth - Houston and Portland being two recent examples. This is to say nothing of the successful youth targeted stations he continues to support. Proponents of this defective argument are quick to cite the return of WCBS-FM as the defining moment of the Mason presidency when the facts more fairly suggest that was but one defining moment. Stay tuned.

The majority of American youth still listen to radio and being told by their elders that they do not only serves to confirm what these digital natives know instinctively to be true - their grandparents really are a clueless bunch. Permit me to disabuse you of the pure nonsense that states one can only program with any success to the "available" older audience. Radio Disney Q.E.D. Further, in my book the "available audience" is defined as any person with respiration, heart beat and the strength to operate a radio and assistance can be provided to the latter. My sense is Dan being a smart guy, a good business person, wants every cohort possible tuned into at least one CBS station (or product of CBS Radio provenance no matter the delivery platform). Closed circuit to the wags - we live in a world of AND not OR. The zero sum games of yesterday are alive and relevant only in your own head.

Going forward, what next? Rather than using war or any other military metaphor please allow me to introduce another. I've often wondered what metaphors are used by the military since common sense would suggest they must use something. General Sir Rupert Smith is author of a new book The Utility of Force: The Art of War in the Modern World [Amazon info]. In this important work Sir Rupert argues a revolution, a new paradigm must occur in our conception of war. This follows earlier seminal writings on the subject of 4GW (Fourth-generation warfare) including the remarkable writing of Col Thomas X. Hammes - The Sling and The Stone [Amazon info]. Sir Rupert introduces art as metaphor, specifically he uses the Impressionists, those guys who once broke all the rules of academic painting.

He makes the point that the Impressionists were trained as Realists and became Impressionists. They used the same paint, the same brush, the same canvas and the same objects however they expected a different outcome. They re-created the sensation in the eye. They were hated for it, their work dismissed. What media needs now in my view is to break free of a confining and limiting mindset, a perspective that is in fact a major obstacle to real innovation. The broadcast business model is operating past its best used by date.

We have no lack of critics, modern day aspiring Lewis Leroy types more concerned with preserving the status quo of best practice than giving consideration to the new and appreciating any taking of calculated risk. Critics preoccupied with moving a tweaked, optimized version of some preferred celebrated past forward rather than being obsessed with competing for the future by way of innovation including abandonment. These critics will no doubt find fault with any and all attempts at radical re-invention but re-invention and innovation are the must haves no longer optional. Simply put they are the price of entry in a new game that is already in progress. The dogs bark, but the caravan is moving on. Best to keep the wise counsel of William Gibson "...the future is already here. It's just not very evenly distributed."

Damn the rule takers, let the rule breakers and rule makers unite to make amazing things happen. Let the messy stuff of creative collaboration and innovation begin in earnest. Let us stop wasting valuable time trying to get better and let us start making those investments needed to get different, dramatically different. Let us paint!

Bonus: twictionary

Music video: Duffy, the 23-year-old Welsh pop singer is the goods. Check her out via YouTube.

Congrats & cheers: Microsoft Research opens WorldWide Telescope to the public. Very cool [Related video - Scoble interviews Curtis Wong and Jonathan Fay project leads at Microsoft] Sam Zell on his flawless sale of Newsday. Sprout on their raise and using their product (below) to make the announcement and advance the demo - savvy! Finally, upon his departure from Bear Stearns, we salute Vic Miller. Vic's performance was exemplary, he brought honor to his firm, credit to his profession and insight to those of us in measured media made better by his consistently cogent observation. Best wishes, Vic - may all your dreams come true.

Monday, May 12, 2008

"It has never been my object to record my dreams, just the determination to realize them." Man Ray

"Only from the entirely old can the entirely new be born." Bela Bartok

"Getting caught is the mother of invention." Robert Byrne

Today's image: Firestarter by TravelingRoths. Very interesting capture. Thanks for sharing.

Smart dead tree guy shares wisdom

Let's start our own fire this week with two stories and a jump worth your bandwidth...

Three women walked into a public restroom to find the water running. They complained loudly and continuously about the horrible people who left that faucet on. They kvetched about the insensitivity of the horrid perpetrators. On and on they griped. What, indeed, was the world coming to?

A fourth woman walked into the restroom, looked at the running faucet, and turned it off.

There are complainers in this world and there are doers.

Second story...

Recently, a friend of mine told me a story about Mike who went to Seattle to visit a friend. Mike encountered an old priest who got up early every morning, made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and walked downtown and gave them to the homeless.

Mike was moved by the old priest’s good works. So when he got home Mike wrote the priest a check and sent it to him saying it was to help his ministry. A few weeks later Mike got the check back in the mail with a note written on the check – “make your own damn sandwiches.”

These stories are taken from a speech delivered to dead tree circulation execs. Newspaper circulation leaders need to make their own sandwiches was the wake up call by Tim McGuire. Now at Arizona State, Tim previously served as editor and SVP at The Star Tribune in Minneapolis. Here's a bit more...

"Newspapers as we know them have a problem. It is a big, nasty, transformational problem. Arguments about whether it could have been avoided are the territory of second-guessers with too much time on their hands. The fact is newspapers have this problem because the world marches on.

All products have life cycles and the golden age of the newspaper product was from the 1950’s through the mid-to late 90’s. There is a lot of loose talk about newspapers being dinosaurs. If that is true, the meteor hit newspapers in the mid-90’s. It’s called the Internet."

One could easily subsitute "Broadcasters" for newspapers. One could and you should. Here's the advertised jump. If you read just one item today, click only on one link today, please let me recommend this one. You'll thank me later. Read and send a link to those you know who are serious about making something happen. Bravos, Tim! Well said.

Get social: Google bows Friend Connect - an app that helps to make any site social. Conference call today (12:30 pm Eastern) to discuss, replay available. Kudos to team Google. More info here.

Bonus video: Mark Williamson, Dash Technologies at Web 2.0 must see video. Congrats and cheers to Rob Curry on a very cool presentation. Jump to here, use the right nav to find and view the video by Mark Williamson. While you're there check out Google's Matt Cutts - he offers an excellent talk on spam.

Podcasts - Best of: Hugh and the Rabbi, Episode 4 (Audio, MP3). Good show guys! The Gillmor Gang, on decentralized Twitter (Audio, MP3). Great discussion, follow-on to an earlier cast on Twitter, FriendFeed, and other Live Web apps. Kudos, Steve, well done.

Buzz: BlackBerry Bold. 60 Photography Links You Can't Live Without via Cameraporn - thanks to the uber-cool Thomas Hawk for the tip.

Congrats & cheers: Chris Anderson & team TED on the smash that was Pangea Day. [Related - highlight reel]

Saturday, May 10, 2008

"Charisma means looking like everyone else." Marshall McLuhan

"Wisdom consists in rising superior both to madness and to common sense, and is lending oneself to the universal illusion without becoming its dupe." Henri Frederic Amiel

"Many enjoy the shade...but few rake the leaves." Jack Morton

Today's image: Mother Trucker by Fred Winston. Great shot. Thanks for sharing.

Bonus: Name the TV show theme song. Flyp - new online mag (flash), outstanding, tight look and feel. Very cool.

Friday, May 09, 2008

"There always comes a time when one must choose between contemplation and action." Camus

"Any activity becomes creative when the doer cares about doing it right, or doing it better." John Updike

"A lazy man is never lucky." Persian proverb

Today's image: Colors_II by gabsriel. Wonderful. Thanks for sharing.

Steal This Stuff

Readers of this humble blog are aware, posts here typically start with an image and three quotations, usually ending one or more items later.

Each day it's a work in progress. As things are discovered (or thought) they're added. It's a process not an event.

So, I'm talking with the legendary Fred Winston. He's just back from giving a talk in Nashville where he addressed radio programming execs. His talk was about coaching, getting the best out of talent and making amazing things happen on the radio. Subject matter about which he is a world-class expert (Fred happens to be, in his own right, an incredibly gifted talent, exceptional voice actor and inspirational coach).

"It all comes down to the basics. The fundamentals, blocking and tackling" Fred tells me.

So later, I'm talking with a CEO, my client on the day job. He's just back from a planning session for their upcoming senior leadership retreat.

"We would like you to give us another 'One hour Martinizing' and need a title for your talk. Got any ideas?"

After a few seconds of hesitation I say "Blocking and Tackling."

So, there I am, at 35,000 feet, heading home, reflecting on this week's guest blogs by Kelly O'Keefe and Joel Denver. Then, it becomes obvious. When you boil it all down, the eloquent words of Kelly, the unvarnished wisdom of's blocking and tackling.

Time to outline the upcoming talk.

Use the best format, the one experience has taught me is the most effective...

Prep conversation > Have conversation > Encourage transfer of conversation

Prep: Send materials to those attending that gets them into the mindset of the conversation

Conversation: Deliver the talk in an interactive fashion

Encourage: Follow-up conversation with materials that prompt thought and action on the job

The goal of every talk given is exactly the same - make something happen back on the job. If something happens back on the job then the talk was a win, if not then it's a loss. A purely digital equation. One or zero. W or L.

So, back in the office, talking with serial entrepreneur and marketing ace Lee Arnold. A master storyteller, Lee shares a lesson and concludes "Getting it done was really all about being great, really great at blocking and tackling."

Lesson of the week: Blocking and tackling wins.

So, here are some of the items being considered for the prep portion of my upcoming talk. These are basics, fundamentals, the blocking and tackling stuff. My notion is you can put these to good use, make them your own. Please, steal them.

For the past five years John Spence, executive educator, consultant and speaker, has been working on his next book. In process, he now offers a fine article titled Achieving Business Excellence. John provides a list of six keys to success...

1. Vivid vision: A clear and well-thought-out vision of what you are trying to create that is exceptionally well communicated to everyone involved. A true vision is an exciting, focused, realistic and inspiring picture of what you and your people are all trying to accomplish together - it's the reason you come to work every day, the impact you want to make on the world, the kind of company and product you aspire to build.

2. Best people: Superior talents who are also masters of collaboration. The future of your company is directly tied to the quality of talent you can attract and keep. "...talent that does not play well with others is not talent." You need to put in the systems, processes and programs necessary to build a product pipeline that delivers a steady stream of bright, sharp, creative and hardworking people.

3. A performance-oriented culture: One that demands flawless operational execution, encourages constant improvement and innovation, and completely refuses to tolerate mediocrity or lack of accountability. The #1 issue that inhibits execution: Holding onto the past/unwillingness to CHANGE. "Once you start accepting mediocrity in your life, you become a magnet for mediocrity in your life."

4. Robust communication: Open, honest, frank and courageous, both internally and externally. Great companies do everything in their power to maximize the Voice Of the Customer (VOC).

5. A sense of urgency: The strong desire to get the important things done while never wasting time on the trivial.

6. Extreme customer focus: Owning the voice of the customer and delivering what customers consider truly valuable.

Read John's entire article Achieving Business Excellence by downloading or viewing in your browser via the free PDF here. Kudos, John. Well done.

But wait, there's more...

Hugh MacLeod, ad exec, uber-cool blogger, soon to be published author and official artiste of N=1 offers his 26 tried-and-true tips for being truly creative. Here are the first six...

1. Ignore everybody

2. The idea doesn't have to be big. It just has to change the world

3. Put the hours in

4. If your biz plan depends on you suddenly being "discovered" by some big shot, your plan will probably fail

5. You are responsible for your own experience

6. Everyone is born creative; everyone is given a box of crayons in kindergarten

Read Hugh's How To Be Creative by downloading or viewing in your browser via the free PDF here. Bravos, Hugh. Well said.

My thanks to
ChangeThis for both of these offerings.

Congrats & cheers: Cory Bergman joins as director of biz dev. Peter Burton and Dave Beasing join Bonneville in LA.

My sincere appreciation and thanks, a tip of the chapeau to Fred Winston, Kelly O'Keefe, Joel Denver and Lee Arnold for their contributions this week. Thanks to my client for the opportunity and the challenge to make something happen. Finally, thanks to you for stopping by.

Don't even tell me that you are reading this before you checked out Spence and MacLeod. Scroll back up and please deal with it, now. I'll wait here. Thanks.

Bonus: "All science is either physics or stamp collecting" Physicist Brian Cox speaks at TED

See you next week in a brand new show. Remember Mom. "My mom was fair. You never knew whether she was going to swing with her right or her left" - Herb Caen. Have a wonderful weekend.