Sunday, July 19, 2009

"Experiment. Measure. Evolve!" Kipper McGee

The record industry suing file sharers is like the railroad industry trying to shoot down airplanes." Ken Waagner

"Stay ahead of the culture by creating the culture." Hugh MacLeod

Today's image: Minimal Bird House by Fred Winston. Killer capture. Thanks for sharing.

The 2009 Conclave Awards Luncheon, Friday, July 17th. Presentation of the Rockwell Award to Kipper McGee. Following are my prepared remarks.

I come before you today with three things on my mind.

One. Thank you for being here, for supporting the Conclave and the brash, counter-intuitive concepts of learning and sharing. No matter what others might be saying about the attendance here today, you should feel good. The A students, the cool kids, the innovators, the winners in life are always out numbered. You're clearly out numbered by the mediocre and those not here today. Take heart. By being here you are taking control of your destiny, not just running your mouth. Being here today you've shown initiative, taken action and I applaud you.

Two. A message to all the students and young broadcasters here today. Seven words to remember ... Killer career advice from a banjo player ... Be so good they can't ignore you. The words of Steve Martin. Be so good they can't ignore you.

My suggestion is getting that good means having the discipline to pay attention, careful attention. To become known for noticing and acting on the important when the urgent is crushing you.

Kipper McGee always pays attention. He was paying attention when he noticed Gregg Strassel, John Reynolds, Bernie Laur, Mark Potter, Randy Cook, Bill Shannon, Joel McCrae, Tim Fox and, God bless him, Dan Kieley.

Here's the back story on Kipper. Born in the bratwurst capitol of the world, Sheboygan, Wisconsin, Kipper first hit the air on Rockin mono WVLC, the carrier current student station of Lakeland College where he started as a jock and went on to become the PD and later GM. Then he was off to his first commercial adventure, jocking at Fun Lovin 15Q in Two Rivers, Wisconsin.

Then his plans changed. That St. Paul guy, F. Scott Fitzgerald said "You don't write because you want to say something, you write because you have something to say." Well, Kipper had something to say about management, about being a leader. So he took his first PD job in Waterloo, Iowa at KFMW, FM 108, and what followed, as you know, was a storied career in management including his most recent manager's gig - WLS in Chicago.

Kipper always pays attention to fostering creativity. Ever curious, his is an insatiable appetite for learning. His recent passions include all things digital. Blogging, Twitter, he walks the talk. By the way, he's also received his digital certification from RAB. Let me encourage you to do the same and take advantage of the wealth of RAB online resources. Kipper is always on the creative leading edge. It's a surprise to no one that knows him that he is currently the go-to guy for FM talk radio, a format he has long championed.

As Theodore Levitt taught us - Creativity is thinking new things. Innovation is doing new things. Kipper has a proven track record of both, thinking and doing, and doing both with distinction.

Kipper is known for paying attention to solving the problems at hand. He constantly asks the two most important questions: Why? What needs to be done? Kipper's not the quality of the idea but the quality of the execution. Effective solutions are to be the most prized.

While some may view Kipper's now famous Big 89 Rewinds of 2007 and 2008 featuring Larry Lujack, Fred Winston, Lyle Dean, John Records Landecker, Tom Kent and others as nothing more than pure nostalgia plays, they would be wrong. A careful analysis reveals these events to be astute brand awareness initiatives. FYI - the Big 89 Rewinds were history making stuff delivering the highest single day ratings on a holiday Monday. A 2.5 rating compared to the previous historical average on holiday Mondays which was a 0.8

Kipper has always paid attention to the value, the important and critical nature, of integrity. The value of doing the right thing even if nobody is watching or nobody cares.

Kipper has always answered the call, whether it was teaching, coaching, mentoring others, serving on the Conclave board, or most recently, serving as the chair for his college's upcoming 150th anniversary celebration. Kipper is known as a person that makes things happen, an effective executive that always makes a positive, lasting difference.

Time for that third thing. You remember. I had three things on my mind today.

Please join me now in paying attention, attention earned, attention deserved. Join me please in paying a proper and long over due tribute to a fine broadcaster and a great gentleman. Congrats, kudos, cheers and bravos to Barbara's husband, one of our 2009 Rockwell Award honorees, Kipper McGee.

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