Friday, July 30, 2004

"Sometimes our best isn't good enough. Sometimes we must do what is necessary" Winston Churchill
The exceedingly bright Terry Danner writes about AirAmerica this morning on a Portland broadcasting board.  Take note.

"I'd be willing to bet that more stations leap onto the AirAmerica bandwagon in the next 2 months than jumped on the Disco format after KTU went from worst to first (sometime in the 19th century I believe). It's hard to make money with an AM signal -- unless you own either the conservative talk or the sports talk franchise for the market.... the number 2 or number 3 stations in those formats usually flounder. Now there's another big winner for the AM band to embrace... liberal talk... and I'm betting that either a) Clear Channel will buy Air America to bail it out of its financial troubles OR b) Another group or network like Westwood One will buy them (And remember, everyone said that Rush would fail as soon as Bush got into office and he didn't have Clinton to beat up any more. Didn't happen. And Air America will not fail when/if Kerry gets into office either. Both sides of the political spectrum will finally get a strong voice.)"

"The play's the thing" Shakespeare

Congrats to Tony Coles, Mary Lou Gunn and Ed Krampf. The report card is in. They took an AM station, KPOJ, into the top ten in one book (0.4 to 3.7) using a combination of the Air America net and Jones' Ed Schultz. Many might say progressive radio and Portland are an obvious match, yes, that may be true but only one station took advantage of it. Meanwhile in what may be one of the nation's longest running attempts to get on the ratings radar, locally owned KPAM is down to a 1.6 share. I wonder, just what do those station folks tell the good Dr. Pamplin this time (he again gets my vote for most patient owner of the decade).

Thursday, July 29, 2004

"The rocks go with the farm" Larry Bentson
If you have enjoyed a recent parody of the OnStar radio campaign titled "BlondeStar" you should properly thank the creator, Elic Thomas, star of 96.9 WXBQ radio in Bristol, Virginia, along with Bob and Pamela Hamilton.  Bob and Pamela are involved in The Radio Comedy Competition which first put "BlondeStar" on a national stage when Elic's fine bit won their national monthly competition.  Having been sent "BlondeStar" via email attachment by no fewer than ten senders my sense is its already gone worldwide without attribution.  Congrats to Elic and bravo, again,  to Bob and Pamela, let us laud their consistently amazing work.  Check out their site, time well spent.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

"If they're not helping you, they're hurting you" Norm Goldsmith

This month in 2001 we lost a bigger than life original, The Great Goldsmith. A few weeks after his passing friends of Norm gathered in Napa at the Silverado Country Club for "The Great Goldsmith's Last Hurrah!" We raised a glass to the life and times of one of the world's most lovable duffers. While Norm is certainly respected for his many and valuable contributions as a management consultant, sales consultant and trainer, he is best remembered as an advocate, a candid maverick and friend to those working in ad supported, measured media. He was blessed with rare and uncommon gifts, a world-class raconteur his natural ability to hold any audience spellbound remains the stuff of legend. When I first hired Norm to consult our company it was the beginning of a highly successful partnership and, more importantly, the start of an incredible friendship. When Norm and Ken Greenwood had the idea to launch what became their "Leadership Institute for Managers" our firm along with Shamrock (Disney), Emmis and Federated (Dillie) supported and funded their startup. All who attended gained from the unique experience, all who sent folks to study, think and learn with Norm and Ken were richer for the investment. Norm's words quoted above are as fresh, relevant and perhaps even more appropriate today than they were back when. Norm's point was if our managers and sellers are not moving things forward they are, in fact, hurting our organization, doing long-term harm to our business. In celebration of this amazing gentleman, here's more from The Great Goldsmith. This writing is his from late 1992:

"...the combination of fragmentation and a poor business climate have had a negative impact in three key areas. First, we've shifted from a demand-driven to a supply-driven marketplace. Second, our pricing - once set by the top outlets - is essentially determined by the middle and bottom stations. Third, escalating advertiser demands and decreasing cost efficiences have made more traditional sources of revenue less profitable. You don't need an MBA from Wharton to figure out the ramifications."

"Salespeople no longer can be satisfied with the traditional sources of revenue that have provided enough money for their needs - they have to be accountable for their station's needs as well."

Norm also provided the "redirection" required to fix the problems when he wrote

"...every member of today's high-performance sales team must adhere to the following beliefs:
They are running a business, and they're accountable for the business's success - regardless of the economy or the loss of ratings, orders, or accounts. They must appreciate the importance of planning, so that they run their business effectively. They must want to grow, learn and try new approaches. Otherwise they become good players in a game that's no longer being played. We seem to have a lot of those around today. They must learn to be a strategic partner to clients and a valuable resource in meeting objectives - not an old-line financial partner, counted on to meet cost criteria. They must be team players. A senior AE, especially, must understand he or she has the responsibility to be a positive role model to the staff in return for being allowed to earn more money by handling some of the station's more lucrative accounts. They must take pride in their work, be passionate about it, and - above all else - have fun."

Were this great gentleman around today what would he say? My sense is he would state the obvious using that famous line from Pogo "we have met the enemy and he is us". Houston, we have a leadership problem.

Today when our firm is engaged to conduct an evaluation of a property, something we call a strategic audit, or inventory of best practice, we employ one of the measures first taught to me by my sales mentor Kevin B. Sweeney. "List the top 100 advertisers, year to date and last calendar year, of your daily newspaper" We have not yet been introduced to a team that has had this critical information already in hand and employed. Nothing but upside in these cases.

Congratulations to Sherman Kizart - he's been promoted and is now an Interep Senior Vice President. Good things happen to good people and for Sherman this is only the beginning.

Congratulations to Jim Kerr - he's joining Pollack Media as Director Programming/Creative Services. Very smart move Jeff.

Monday, July 26, 2004

"The most important developments in technology affecting the newsroom today are all happening outside the newsroom, bringing change from the outside in" Jeff Jarvis
The above from Jarvis' presentation at Aspen Institute - Technology and the Newsroom.
Jeff weighs in on ChangeThis - well said Jeff.

Friday, July 23, 2004

"Nobody goes there any more, it's too crowded" Yogi Berra
Seth Godin is starting a new venture.  ChangeThis will create and publish, via pdf, writings of political and business leaders.  Grand idea, my congrats to Seth. What's not so grand are the comments about media made in the ChangeThis manifesto. Under the heading "The problem lies in the media" TV, radio, letters to the editor and magazines get the blame for failing to provide the time and space for "thoughtful, rational, constructive arguments about important issues." "Radio has become a jingoistic wasteland, a series of thoughtless mantras, repeated over and over and designed to fit into a typical commute." Hey Seth, you're wrong. Lots of diversity in electronic media today. Dead tree media has never been more title rich. The web has introduced a new and very different depth of voice and it's only the beginning.  How, exactly, pdf prose can rise to the potential influence and effectiveness of an interactive approach (e.g., blogging) is the case missing in your first manifesto.  After all, conversation is what it's all about Seth especially when your goal seems to be winning hearts and minds. Good luck with your new venture Seth but there's really no need for you and your crew to put down other media.  Please live up to your pledge of being an optimist and carry on.

Friday, July 16, 2004

"Create an atmosphere of ferment, innovation and freedom. This will attract brilliant recruits" David Ogilvy (on hiring)
One of the best learning conferences for radio and music professionals is The Conclave.  Sorry that my schedule prevented attending this year. Tom Kay, his board, volunteers, faculty and sponsors are to be congratulated...early reports are...simply outstanding. Cheers!

Thursday, July 15, 2004

"Table ready lettuce. $1.4 billion. If someone can do this with a vegetable, what the hell is our excuse?" Gary Hamel
Other "most powerful"
Against all odds...contenders
Jerry Lee is certainly one of the most powerful and exemplary by any measure.
Should we recognize Paul Allen for his powerful little combo that could, and does, in Portland, or does credit go, properly, to a powerful Tim McNamara?

"There will always be people who are ahead of the curve, and people who are behind the curve. But knowledge moves the curve." Bill James

Radio trade pub Radio Ink has compiled and named their "40 Most Powerful People in Radio." Unlike the lists of business executives published by others, such as Forbes, this list does not seem to disclose a methodology or criteria in selection. No matter. It's their list and it is what it is. To put the list in perspective. It is a list of executives working in or associated with the business of commercial terrestrial radio broadcasting (AM & FM). C level officers of commercial radio broadcasting firms dominate the list. FCC Chair Michael Powell, NAB CEO Eddie Fritts, and Arbitron CEO Steve Morris are among those few making the list who do not hold senior positions in a radio operating company. Bravo to all making this year's list.

Creating and publishing any list like this is, no doubt, hard work. Any such list does, however, invite comment. With respect, here's mine. Only two women? My congratulations, btw, to Judy Ellis and Catherine Hughes. Hard to imagine there was not room on the list for Val Maki, Kim Guthrie, Erica Farber, Mary Catherine Sneed, Weezie Kramer, Ginny Morris, Mary Bennett, Lynn Anderson, Lisa Decker or Bonnie Press. No performers? Is it possible to make a list of commercial radio's "most powerful" without Howard, Rush, Tom or Paul? The biggest commercial radio firms are now publicly held, isn't it therefore appropriate to also recognize the street...those important, "powerful", members of the financial community (e.g.,Drew Marcus)? Can we simply deny what a "powerful" industry scribe Joel Denver has become? Are we wise in failing to recognize "powerful" entrepreneurs the likes of Clark/Verbitsky, Coleman, Jacobs and Rosen? Not notice "powerful" rising stars like Sherman Kizart, Josh Nash, Paul Miraldi, Kippie Romero, Buddy Lee and Julie Kahn? No tip of the chapeau to Fig, Del Bryant, Glynn Walden, Daryl Brown, Amy Rosenthal, Shelia Kerby and no mention whatever of Miller-Kaplan? The "powerful" agents of change at ibiquity merit no recognition? As my Georgia relatives would say "something bad wrong here" Please accept this short list of "unsung powerful players" for what it is - top of mind and certainly very incomplete. But wait there's more...

Thanks to Eric Rhoads we have reason to collaborate in the creation and publication of yet another list. A list of those hard working and truly powerful people who are adding value and getting it done, quietly behind the scenes or just plain out loud. The real power behind the so-called powerful. Should you, dear reader, have any suggestions please email me. Let the list begin.