"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.
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."
[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?"
[ 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."
"...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."
[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."
"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."
"...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.