Tuesday, February 24, 2009

"He who moves not forward goes backward." Goethe

"Great minds are like eagles, and build their nest in some lofty solitude." Arthur Schopenhauer

"Do not allow idleness to deceive you; for while you give him today he steals tomorrow from you." Alfred Crowquill

Today's image: entrando nel mondo delle fiabe by confusedvision. Outstanding. Thank you for sharing.

As a result of two interesting discussions today please allow me to share a couple of observations...

1. The new definition of local. Discussing a "local" media initiative the topic became "what is local and what will local become?" My thought is the traditional definitions of local are increasingly anachronistic. My suggestion is you begin to abandon DMA, start forgetting popular census measures (e.g., block code), stop depending strictly on ip addresses. The new local is where you are within three meters. Think GPS. One trip to Asia will provide the proof. While it is not yet available in the US, handheld devices in Asia are able to provide you with real-time geo-centric information. Walk out onto the street and it is possible to become aware of the merchants and restaurants nearby, even specials on offer and tables now available for immediate seating. Think local, local, local (within three meters).

2. Never offer to resign. A refresher on how to leave seems appropriate as the terminations continue. Hearing from folks who are working in bad situations (some that might even deserve to be called toxic environments). My counsel is no matter how dark the circumstances may get you should never offer your resignation without first having a firm offer of other employment in hand. To qualify as a "firm offer" it must be, without exception, an offer in writing. This is not the time to be out of work as a consequence of something you said being used against you and accepted as your resignation. The economic difference between resigning and being terminated can be dramatic. My thanks to Lee Arnold, the radio programming ace and marketing maven, for sharing the "THE UH-OH MOMENT" via his blog, here.

Monday, February 23, 2009

"True success is the only thing that you cannot have unless and until you have offered it to others." Sri Chinmoy

"For truth and duty it is ever the fitting time; who waits until circumstances completely favor his undertaking, will never accomplish anything." Martin Luther

"Success is the child of audacity." Benjamin Disraeli

Today's image: Lost by IrenaS. Amazing. Thank you for sharing.

Video: Charlie Rose interviews Marc Andreessen. Highly recommended. An important reminder...always play offense.

Friday, February 20, 2009

"I have to be wrong a certain number of times in order to be right a certain number of times. However, in order to be either, I must first make a decision." Frank N. Giampietro

"You have not done enough, you have never done enough, so long as it is still possible that you have something to contribute." Dag Hammarskjold

"A trifle is often pregnant with high importance; the prudent man neglects no circumstance." Sophocles

Today's image: untitled by Hanna L. Wonderful. Thank you for sharing.

Doing the homework for an upcoming talk and noticed more than one canard needing attention. Allow me to take this opportunity to disabuse you of three patently false notions. With apologies to Adam and Jamie let's get on to some myth busting...

1. The youth no longer listens to radio (alternatively, youth listening is in serious and irreversible decline).

Busted. Not supported by the facts. One example. Radio programming ace Brian Kelly has gained reach among Milwaukee youth improving his 12-17 cume persons rating book after book. The most recent numbers, Fall 2008, show Brian's 103.7 KISS FM posting an increase in teen cume rating of over 36% compared to the earlier Spring numbers. Further, Brian's team continued to deliver exceptional adult numbers. #1 Adults 18-34, Adults 18-49, Women 18-34, Women 18-49 and Women 25-54. This is only part of the story. 103.7 KISS FM captured the highest share of Women 18-34 of any station in the nation delivering an incredible 25.6 share. Those Gen X and Gen Y women are obviously tuned in and happy. But it's the combined performance of 103.7 KISS FM and sister station 99.1 WMYX that is truly amazing. Brian Kelly has built much more than two successful radio stations, he's built and leads a team and they're on a mission to create killer radio from scratch every single day. Clearly, it's working. Word to the wise: take notes.

2. College students have no interest in or involvement with creating radio.

Busted. Facts counter the argument. Exhibit A: WSUM FM, the student radio station at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. Hundreds of students are seriously engaged and involved in playing radio. In fact, there's a waiting list to participate. Best of all, the station sounds great. Don't take my word for it, listen in, they're streaming, here.

3. CBS is making a major strategic error in LA. The abandonment of talk on FM and the debut of a new Top 40 music format.

Since I was not invited to be a party to the discussions concerning the business objectives of CBS Radio in LA please permit me to speculate. Having given this matter considerable thought, Dan Mason and his team have come to believe that they have a better than even chance to win, to be in a better economic position because of the changes.

But wait, there's more. Some experts are suggesting talk is the single best long-term strategy for winning on FM and some LA market watchers are claiming that KISS FM is practically invincible. In their view CBS is walking away from the future of FM and taking on a fool's errand. Let's take these down in separate responses.

Busted. While the "all music formats on radio are dead" meme is said by advocates to be stuff born of pure critical thinking, it ain't necessarily so. Please see #1 above. Music radio is very much alive and well and profitable. The gang that's pushing to get music off of FM stations, those calling spoken word programming the only true salvation securing radio's future are promoting a thesis that's too clever by half. Among pubcasters this flawed notion is taking on the authority of a pragmatic sanction (i.e., industry consultants and thought leaders supported by the research demanded we do it). Music isn't what's getting radio into trouble or putting it in harm's way. My sense remains that responsibility is one of leadership and a massive failure of imagination.

Busted. Incumbency is irrelevant. One need only recall the events of 1986. KISS enjoyed a 10 share and unprecedented success. Emmis launched Power 106 becoming the new market leader in less than one year. The sheer idiocy here is calling the new CBS music format a loser or a failed strategy when it has not yet been heard (as of this writing). Let's agree to follow the counsel of my longtime friend Rick Sklar and give the CBS gang the benefit of being on the air for a month before beginning to listen critically. Let's also agree to let the audience and advertisers weigh in before making any declaration.

Thanks for stopping by. Have a great weekend. See you next week in a brand new show.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

"A dissenting minority feels free only when it can impose its will on the majority; what it abominates most is the dissent of the majority." Eric Hoffer

"In character, in manners, in style, in all things, the supreme excellence is simplicity." Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

"While we are postponing, life speeds by." Seneca

Today's image: the winter garden 1/12/08 by gary isaacs' photos' Photostream. Exquisite. Thank you for sharing.

Preparing for an upcoming talk, the majority of recent days are filled with reading, reviewing, collecting and organizing materials. Connecting with folks via email and phone, the objective being getting dialed in to what's happening right now, looking for help in an attempt to see around the corner and perhaps get some sense of what's next. Pages of notes. It's a process. The research, the prep, the thinking required to grok the relevant issues. Getting it down as close to cold as possible so that a first draft of an outline can be produced.

As my talk will be delivered to managers who work in broadcasting, I've spent time immersed in the sites devoted to broadcasters, those beyond the usual suspects (i.e., the trades). Searching for diversity and fresh povs, time was devoted to a series of deep dives, first up the low hanging fruit - blogs.

Readers of this blog are aware of my thinking. Simply put...we are living in the most exciting era in the history of measured media.

Weeks of reading the blogs brought The Tempest to mind, to wit: "...what's past is prologue, what to come In yours and my discharge."

My sense is too many blogs appear to be the work of old white guys not happy with the way things are going, folks clearly upset about change in the industry. Moreover, too many of these bloggers seem to be either obsessed with bringing back some new version of the past or possessed by a compulsion to deliver little more than critical rants about the present. It's not healthy. To be brutally honest, it's a waste of bandwidth. But there's good news. Doing the math it's easy to project that these old guys have more days behind them than ahead. Let them live out their days shouting at the tide or barking at the moon. None of what they say really matters.

Let me finish the post with some really great news. There's a very cool new generation at work in broadcasting today and more fresh, bright entry level folks on the way. Have no doubt, the best is yet to come. For as Emerson once said we belong to the party of the future and not to the party of the past. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

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

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

"Successful people seek out their futures from the present; failures seek out their futures from the past." Li Ao

Today's image: La Pyramide du Louvre by Gregory Bastien. Beautiful shot. Thank you for sharing.

Interesting data from Quantcast. In the last six months...

Facebook has grown from 36+ to 64+ mil (MySpace declines 70 to 68 mil)
Twitter has grown from 1.1 to 4.1 mil
YouTube grows from 72 to 78 mil
Ning has grown from 2.2 to 6.2 mil
Flickr grows from 22 to 24 mil
SecondLife has grown from 900k to 1.3 mil

Selected rankings from Top 100 sites (today's data) ...

5. YouTube 78 mil
8. MySpace 68 mil
9. Facebook 66 mil
24. USA Today. 29 mil
27. CNN. 27 mil
30. Flickr 24 mil
41. Weather.com 18 mil
57. NYTimes.com 13 mil
59. Hulu 13 mil
62. Reuters 12 mil
66. HuffingtonPost 12 mil
69. digg 12 mil
76. NBC 11 mil
83. CNET 11 mil
92. Time.com 10 mil

Bonus: The Death of Web 2.0? by Allyson Kapin via Fast Company, here. Radio: Wave Of The Future by Caroline Krediet via MediaPost, here. Kudos to Allyson and Caroline.

Video: Gustavo Dudamel and the Teresa Carreno Youth Orchestra: A musical sensation from Venezuela. My thanks to TED...

Monday, February 16, 2009

"Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be." Abraham Lincoln

"It is common sense to take a method and try it. If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something." Franklin Delano Roosevelt

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

Today's image: Abe by ~bear. Great shot. Thank you for sharing.

Happy Presidents' Day. Have an amazing week.

C-SPAN Survey of Presidential Leadership. Total scores/Overall ranking...

1. Abraham Lincoln
2. George Washington
3. Franklin D. Roosevelt
4. Theodore Roosevelt
5. Harry S. Truman
6. John F. Kennedy
7. Thomas Jefferson
8. Dwight D. Einsenhower
9. Woodrow Wilson
10. Ronald Reagan

Entire ranking here.

Bonus: Barry Schwartz @ TED. The real crisis? We stopped being wise...

Friday, February 13, 2009

"It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." Mark Twain

"Confidence is what you have before you understand the problem." Woody Allen

"The history of art is the history of revivals." Samuel Butler

Today's image: Blazing Sunset On Mount Rainier by kevin mcneal. Incredible. Thank you for sharing.

The Billboard gang pulls together all kinds of interesting stuff. Here's their 2008 top five performers by register rings (e.g., albums, concerts, ring tones, digital track sales, in millions):

1. Madonna - $242.2
2. Bon Jovi - $157.2
3. Bruce Springsteen - $156.3
4. The Police - $110
5. Celine Dion - $99.2

Friday the 13th. Lions and tigers and bears, oh my.

Ran out of Friday. Have a great weekend. See you next week in a brand new show.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

"Every man is a quotation from all his ancestors." Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Do not wait for extraordinary circumstances to do good action; try to use ordinary situations." Jean Paul Richter

"The wrong way is endless." Bert Hellinger

Today's image: The Land of Ghosts by peter bowers. Fabulous. Thanks for sharing.

Welcome to the first quarter we were all warned about. Earlier this week the Association of National Advertisers released findings from a recent study indicating 77% of marketers plan to reduce their advertising media budgets. 72% said they plan to reduce advertising-campaign production budgets. Marissa Miley provides more detail via Ad Age - Most Marketers Cutting Budgets, Renegotiating With Agencies - here.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, media consumption remains in good shape. The Grammys pulled in 19 mil viewers, up 14% from last year. Not Idol numbers but respectable. The continuing economic problems with broadcast are related to leadership, a massive failure of imagination and, as has been said many times in this space, sales issues that have turned into a full blown sales crisis. While the state of the nation's economy provides a good cover story for media CEOs, the weak economy has simply exacerbated ongoing fundamental business problems. The real task at hand is getting serious about industry reinvention, especially sales, and making something happen. Execution not excuses.

My sense is the wacky crazy death meme will continue cause it's so much fun (e.g., newspapers are dead, radio is dead, TV is dead, agencies are dead, advertising is dead). Seems to me the media darlings of 2009 will be social media led by Facebook. The most recent valuations for FB alone pegs it at $3.7B. The buzz on Twitter has those boys clocking in around $250mil. Stay tuned. Let me add that mobile will remain near the top of every media CEO's agenda this year and it deserves to be. Local, local, local. One other thought for media CEOs - How large is your developer community? Each property should establish, nurture, support, encourage, recognize and reward a developer community. Seems to be working out well for Google.

Bravos: WSUM General Manager Dave Black leads the Madtown student radio station to a new home. Deborah Ziff has the story via Wisconsin State Journal - New digs for University of Wisconsin-Madison's student radio station - here. [Thanks to Tom Teuber for the tip]

Congrats & cheers: Carrie Bugbee (for her exceptional ongoing performance as that incredible doll we've come to know as @PeggyOlson) and all the winners of The Shorty Awards. Related: Check out the Supporting Characters gang that supported the Mad Men Twitter campaign, here.

Bonus: Bill Figenshu writes If There Was Ever a Time via RBR, here. Kudos, Fig. Well said.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

"A man's manners are a mirror in which he shows his portrait." Goethe

"Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others." Emily Post

"It's nice to be important, but it's more important to be nice." John Cassis

Today's image: Last Shot in the Life of a Lens by Thomas Hawk. Stunning. Thank you for sharing.

The Next Competitive Advantage:

Winters can be hard but this winter seems more difficult.

Too many are being asked to endure not only the cold of nature but a harsh new cold of business.

This winter, out of work media folks are experiencing the most bone-chilling of cold responses, that of no responses at all. It's the absence of social grace, the disappearance of civility, and an apparent lack of professional respect. It seems we should consider adding manners to our list of endangered or abandoned practices for it would appear that manners, at least for now, are somehow missing in action.

My sense is this represents an incredible opportunity.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication." Leonardo da Vinci

"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, in the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki

"If you're not prepared to be wrong, you'll never come up with anything original." Sir Ken Robinson

Today's image: Mujer envuelta en nube by Memo Vasquez Beautiful shot. Thank you for sharing.

Five things to start doing
in 2009

5. Help others. Be a volunteer, a mentor, a mensch. You get what you give. This year, more than ever, you can make a big difference in someone's life by simply making, taking or returning a phone call.

Don't ignore the email, reply.

Be concerned enough to go in search of need.

Get seriously involved in your community and deeply engaged in your industry by giving your time to helping others less fortunate than yourself.

It all counts, just care enough to do it.

Be dedicated to something bigger than yourself. Give blood, donate canned goods, vote and most important, be there.

Be there to offer an encouraging word, a supportive gesture, a smile, a shoulder, a dollar, an idea and that precious gift of your sincere praise.

Be there to listen.

Be there when others have turned away, failed to show.

Be there to ring their phone, to send that email. Let them know they are not alone.

Be there and make a difference, because you can, because you know, they really need, want and appreciate knowing that someone has not forgotten them, that someone cares.

Be there in nothing less than the way you would want and expect others to be there for you. Mind The Golden Rule. If you fire people, don't be a jerk.

It only takes a few minutes each day for you to be there to help others.

No excuses. Lend a hand. Have a heart. Be there, now. Please. Thank you.

Read and share: How to talk to a friend who's been laid off via Penelope Trunk's Brazen Careerist, here.

Bonus: Blog: PR squared by Todd Defren. Conversations about social media and marketing. A good read here. [Get Todd's free e-book, Brink - A Social Media Guide from the Edge via PDF here]

Bonus 2: Why I Gave Up Trying to Balance Work and Life and Decided to Stay Sane Instead. An interesting post by Sam Davidson, here. [My thanks to Rebecca Thorman for the tip]

Grapes: A killer red from Argentina. Trivento. Select, Mendoza, 2006. A Malbec. Outstanding value at under $10. Drinks like a $50 bottle.

Monday, February 09, 2009

"Few people think more than two or three times a year, I have made an international reputation for myself by thinking once or twice a week." George Bernard Shaw

"Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought." Albert Szent-Gyorgyi

"They are ill discoverers that think there is no land, when they can see nothing but sea." Sir Francis Bacon

Today's image: untitled by breaking sights Awesome shot. Thanks for sharing.

Five things to start doing
in 2009

4. Do your homework. Devoted to working hard. Showing up with your A game, coming to play. Always going the extra mile and known for consistently doing what it takes without excuses. Being dedicated to creative collaboration. Having a deep understanding that execution is the ball game and knowing there's no substitute for doing your homework.

Congrats & cheers: Phil Hansen, official multimedia artist for the 51st Grammy Awards. CBS Radio programming ace Mark Edwards on his real-time updates, sharing pics and videos from backstage at the Grammys via Twitter.

Bonus: An Immodest Proposal - Or - Am I an Idiot For Paying iTunes for a Colbert Subscription? via MEDIATHINK here. Kudos to Tom Barnes. Word to the wise - put this blog in your reader. Highly recommended.

Have an amazing week.

Friday, February 06, 2009

"Despite the rejection, and in violation of all the rules, I came back year after year." Joseph Barbera

"Basically, everything I try to do is to present an alternative to what somebody else is doing." Matt Groening

"In general, shorter is better. If you can encapsulate your idea into a single captivating sentence, you're halfway home." Len Wein

Today's image: My Poems Keep My Mind Unempty by Poems of a selfish record player Wicked frames, cool shot, thanks for sharing.

Five things to start doing
in 2009

3. Make a difference. Dedicate yourself to work that matters. Go for greatness.

Start by catching your people doing things right, giving praise for doing the right things. The number one complaint of talent remains "I get very little feedback and when I do, it's negative."

Congrats & cheers: Bill Baker, a former Group W colleague, has written a book on leadership that deserves your attention. Leading with Kindness: How Good People Consistently Get Superior Results [Amazon info]

Thursday, February 05, 2009

"You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club." Jack London

"Whenever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision." Peter Drucker

"I prefer the errors of enthusiasm to the indifference of wisdom." Anatole France

Today's image: Even In The Quietest Moments II by EvidencE Great shot. Thanks for sharing.

Five things to start doing
in 2009

2. Measure. Mind that powerful old saw "You can't manage what you don't measure." Get serious about keeping score. What's par? Ask the most important question - Why? Discuss, in depth, "what would have to happen" to reach your objectives. Lead and champion the development and careful study of multidimensional real-time measures. This is the first step in creating the standards required to run and grow your enterprise.

For example, when tracking revenue performance develop a variety of metrics. Examine revenue from different and varied points of view beyond the standard practices or accepted measures. In addition to tracking monthly or weekly pacing to goal, capture and study daily sales, daily collections (deposits, DSO). Know your cost of creating an avail and in the process get a deeper, richer understanding of your true cost of sales and the real levers at work. How much it's costing you to produce a rating point in programming is every bit as important as knowing, cold, what buyers are paying sellers - this week - per point.

Develop a "dashboard" and share leading indicators, the metrics, with your team - early and often. Hint: discuss, debate, refine daily.

Measure everything. Study the numbers and over time you'll learn how to "read through them" and improve your performance. Think about the wise counsel of Gary Hamel..."Perspective is worth 10 IQ points."