Thursday, April 27, 2006

"A victory is twice itself when the achiever brings home full numbers." Shakespeare, Much Ado about Nothing, Act I Scene I

Congrats and Bravo to Steve Dahl, pictured here with my friend Nancy Wolf who, like Steve, happens to be gifted. She, one of the greatest communications lawyers ever, a wonderful intellect and a truly engaging personality. He, exhibit A that live and local is the killer app.

In the Winter book Steve is #1 25-54 men and #2 25-54 adults. The numbers say it all, the Dahl dynasty continues.

#1 people hang out with #1 people, #2 people hang out with #3 people and #4 people hang out with anyone they can. You are who you hang with. CBS should consider itself lucky that two #1 people, Steve and Nancy, have chosen to hang out with the eye team.

"Sudden Incompetence...people continue in their new assignment to do what made them successful in the old assignment...Then they turn incompetent, not because they have become incompetent, but because they are doing the wrong things" Peter Drucker

Travel is in my job description. Let me say Starwood has done a fine job with their Westin branded properties. Their Heavenly Bed and Heavenly Shower concepts are excellent. These two attributes are unique points of difference that represent real value to the business traveler. On the pages of their site devoted to Westin they say "Every Westin—and there are more than 120, including 30 of the world's finest resorts—is a haven of serenity and a distinctive alternative for those who appreciate a higher standard." As it happens not every Westin property lives up to that wit - Las Vegas. The Westin Casuarina is the only Westin property in Las Vegas and it gives the good, hard working people of Westin a bad name. The thirty plus year old building is the former Maxim, perhaps one of the most seedy hotels in Vegas history. Locals will tell you the property is jinxed. Common sense should tell Starwood to fix the basics pronto...the rogue elevators, the lack of hot water, and the third world phone system would be good places to start. I often recommend Starwood to friends and clients on the merits. However in a key market where the standards are being written by Steve Wynn... Starwood can not and should not tolerate the tarnish their single Vegas property will continue to cause. Apologies to friends and colleagues who took my suggestion to book at Westin and ended up at what may well be their worst property. Closed circuit to Starwood brass...why during one of the largest shows in Vegas (NAB) was your house not sold out. My suggestion is...the word is out. Going forward you are presented with only two options...fix or shutter asap...please chose one now.

Is it me or do the biggest failures seem to always happen not in the backwaters but in the most visible of places? No doubt the handiwork of that certain Mister Murphy.

Excellent NAB show. Bravo to the staff on an outstanding job well done. Full report coming - catching up in the office today.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

"First of all, we were seeing the movie the same way and that helps, we weren't in conflict. We also had a wonderful screenplay, which we had confidence in. Secondly, I think it was pretty obvious to Russell that I was there to try and do everything I could do each and every day to provide him the opportunity to excel and to realize the potential of each scene. I'm not loud about it, but I'm pretty dogged." Ron Howard - on directing Russell Crowe in A Beautiful Mind

Now that David Lee Roth has done his last radio show for CBS it seems everyone in the trade has an opinion about what went wrong. Cacophonous comments abound. Some have said David Lee Roth, the performer, deserves the sum total or at least majority of blame. A talent sans radio credential, Roth's error appears to be the stuff of pure bravado - accepting a role he lacked the skills and experience to perform well. Others find CBS management culpable; management's complicity beginning with a dubious hiring decision, one possibly made worse by a failure to provide adequate supervision. A number of station folks will tell you everyone went off the reservation in these so-called global decisions. Most would seem to agree with the obvious...the seminal missteps, the acute flaws in this catastrophe, were business decisions...take your pick...either management's election not to reach a new deal with Howard Stern or Howard's decision to walk away no matter the deal compounded by what each did (and didn't do) after that decision was final. That moment of final decision was the ripe catalyst that set into motion the perfect storm, the complex circumstances without precedent.

It would all prove to be more than replacing an iconic talent, one that produced competitive ratings in key markets; the challenge would also involve the Herculean job of replacing significant revenues and operating incomes in a difficult, if not stagnant, marketplace. A complicated magic trick to be attempted for the first time ever and that attempt witnessed by anyone with an interest. It must have felt like the mission was to change a flat tire while continuing to drive at 55 in order to reach their destination on schedule, their progress broadcast live coast-to-coast with running commentary and analysis. There was an urgent need to be right. The early returns are just that early returns. One talent out in a marathon never run before and miles to go before they sleep. No matter your opinion this is one for the history books; it also could merit a case study at the Harvard Business School, stay tuned.

My sense is this series of events stand as a cautionary tale, a case study writ large. Tempting, as it is, to reduce this episode to a discussion of the personalties involved (and their respective apparently censurable acts) let us choose instead to examine the issues.

Management's direction of Howard, actions of the parties before, during and subsequent to Howard's release and the controversy surrounding his final days are the subjects of litigation. It seems wise to await the insight that discovery, finding of fact and judgment may bring to light before offering any further commentary on this, the prequel to the Roth drama.

Ron Howard's comments above in answer to the question "Russell Crowe doesn't suffer fools gladly on film sets. How did you and he get along?" seems to fit, in part, here. CBS hired the former front man of a rock band, a person, it would seem safe to say, who would not likely suffer fools. But my point is not to compare Roth with Crowe here, rather to make plain the powerful forces inherent in conflict, mutual confidence and in the role of a director in the creative process. The responsibility for success, in my opinion, rested equally on talent and director. Producing effective results requires the absence of conflict that Ron Howard speaks about. The early reports seem to suggest conflict was rife in the Roth situation.

As the trade watched, the epic tragedy played out as if it were a slow motion car crash viewed one grainy freeze frame at a time. The soundtrack came directly from the attendant brawl, the industry wide parlor game of handicapping the high stake events. Never in recent times have so many second-guessed the minutia of a radio show's end, the hiring of replacement shows and the debuts, first days of the new shows. The derby of the decade, it was, replete with robust chatter about the retiring favorite, the new jockeys, the horses, the trainers and the owners. Every player had a good seat except those with something to lose, the principals putting careers, reputations and assets at risk in the harsh side games of unintended consequence. The noise and fervor in those first rounds of spirited no-ante wager have abated. The first races in the winter championship meet over, the first-time jockey in the multitrack east coast race cashiered before official results are posted. Now comes industry editorial, the somewhat tamer and a tat more rational discussion of detritus and the collateral damage. Welcome to the second guess on the second guess. The upcoming release of winter book numbers, the CBS Q1 call, together with comments (and spin) from the involved parties and a new team hitting the air will no doubt provide the accelerants needed to refresh the flaming. The fates and fortunes of the other replacements, a rich store of argument and second-guessing, held in reserve for now. Dogs bark, but the caravan rolls on goes the old Balkan proverb.

Please allow me to suggest some thoughts on the bigger business issues here. In the macro, the David Lee Roth adventure appears to offer lessons learned in each of the following disciplines...

  • Succession planning (seeking stars in advance of needs; the interval between first notice of need and announcement of new hire)
  • Creative process I (concept development, innovation, expectations, moving from rule taker to rule breaker and rule maker)
  • Casting (against role and concept)
  • Creative process II (leadership, managing the gap, standards, collaboration, staging, direction, editing, refinement of the solution set)
  • Marketing (to listeners, advertisers, staff and other potential stars in waiting)
  • Decisions to terminate (incl the Dwight Case rule of "when, how much and why")
  • Recovery (renewal, growth, resilience and preservation)

My thoughts on each of these topics will be available in posts beginning after next week's NAB. Please check back at the end of next week. Until then I welcome your comments on the outline.

Overheard in a top five market production studio - new seller, copy in hand speaking to creative director..."can I just wait for it, it's only a 30 and that should only take what...30 to produce right?" (that is correct miss, thanks for playing, now can we get this young lady into some kind of RAB emergency clinic - George Hyde are you getting this?)

Friday, April 21, 2006

"I always prided myself on thinking beyond what the radio sheep were thinking…but these guys are SO far away from 'radio thinking' that it really gets you realizing how engrained we radio people are in a certain style of thinking and creating." Lee Abrams

Lee is blogging his "narrative of the Bob Dylan odyssey" (the back story of Dylan's coming work on XM wherein sounds win over suits). Bravo Lee - well done! The first three "parts" are posted here

Our friend Bob Hamilton, the first broadcast pro to go online decades ago, provides his expected excellent coverage of the largest electronic media gathering on the planet...NAB/Vegas. Hear Bob's coverage and interviews via his New Radio Star Radio. Now on offer...Bob interviews the NAB's Dennis Wharton and John Marino, here. Expected to attend...over 100,000 including 20,000 plus international folk. NAB/Vegas is the single event focused on the bleeding-edge of media innovation, a truly exceptional show without equal. Something you didn't know dept (thanks to Bob's interview with Dennis): at or after last year's NAB/Vegas $30.4 billion in related business was done. NAB 2006 here. See you there!

Bonus - Hamilton's latest venture RV Dream Radio, here

Wicked good waste of bandwidth cyrkam airtos game - free here

Saturday, April 15, 2006

"We used to listen to the radio
And sing along with every song we'd know
We said someday we'd find out how it feels
To sing to more than just the steering wheel

It's hard to say
It's time to say
Goodbye, Goodbye" Photograph - Nickelback

The gathering was in Loves Park, a small community near Rockford, Illinois. At the church founded by his family, in the place of his baptism, Dan Kieley was remembered.

Driving around Loves Park it was easy for me to imagine a young Dan Kieley driving those same streets listening to the radio. A kid singing along with the songs he knew while saying to himself...someday he'd be in radio. Dan Kieley created great radio from scratch; the decades of perfecting his craft began in small towns the likes of Sioux Falls. His reputation for living the indefatigable work ethic of the upper midwest and the resultant remarkable successes on the prairie would serve as Dan's entree to the bright lights and big cities. Radio in Chicago, Milwaukee, Omaha, Minneapolis, Los Angeles, Dallas, and elsewhere was made to change by his hand, affected by his contribution.

Life can be difficult for those who achieve greatness at an early age. For Dan it was no different but he came through it all. He survived his wilderness years and achieved much more than most would or could ever dare to even imagine much less dream. Fig's signature throw away "I love the smell of RF in the morning" was real to Dan. A pathologically competitive professional, his love for radio was unbridled, infectious and contagious.

After the memorial service the time came to raise a glass, to tell a story. From all across the country folks had come to honor and pay their respects to a good man, to the dear friend too soon gone. In a trade where many are said to suffer delusions of adequacy, ever satisfied with mediocrity and the status quo, Dan was a renegade. Kiels will be remembered as an original, a creative maverick, a loving father, an oversized courageous personality imbued by a generous soul.

He was an anachronism impassioned by the mettle, the ardor of Storz, McLendon, Stewart, Drake, Jacobs, Joseph, Drew, Blore, Rook and Sklar. Dan's life work was nothing less than a rich homage to the founders, pioneers and masters of an art he practiced with distinctive deftness. He embraced the high wire act with humor and an affable charm. In his full measure he was a man excited by the possibility of each moment, energized and inspired by what had yet to be achieved. Kiels was an alchemist known for helping others to turn ether into gold. He deeply understood and respected one tenet above others...winning begins with people and product.

Dan Kieley lives on, you will find his spirit and passion beating in the hearts of certain people. Those obsessed with creation. Those who grasp audio as art and theater. Those who live to create something new and different by first building upon what the best have left behind; those few willing and eager to make the sometimes brutal sacrifices that the bitch-goddess success cavalierly requires and that greatness unequivocally demands.

The Dan Kieley Memorial Scholarship Fund has been established. Please send a check to The Conclave, 4517 Minnetonka Boulevard, Suite 104, Minneapolis, MN 55416.

Gerry Cagle has written a tribute to Dan, a story of a round of golf in Las Vegas. You will find it by checking his commentary here

Thursday, April 13, 2006

"There are some things that can beat smartness and foresight. Awkwardness and stupidity can. The best swordsman in the world doesn't need to fear the second best swordsman in the world; no, the person for him to be afraid of is some ignorant antagonist who has never had a sword in his hand before; he doesn't do the thing he ought to do, and so the expert isn't prepared for him; he does the thing he ought not to do; and often it catches the expert out and ends him on the spot" Mark Twain

People who "don't know what they don't know" or "fail to grasp that something can't be done" are sometimes brilliant, often dangerous and should never, in any case, be underestimated. The Twain quotation sums up this important lesson., FedEx, Xerox, Google, and Oreo cookies are but a few examples of ventures launched by folks who "didn't know they were suppose to fail." Counter intuitive thinking is a powerful tool. My friend Bob Henabery calls this "the ability to drive on the left-hand side of the road." The "first-time exec" typically comes to the work of a new office with fresh, clear senses. This acuity is generally short-lived. The executive begins with a view of the landscape, the forest and over time begins to see trees, then a single tree, and finally perception narrows to a field of view that is sub-atomic bark. Keeping a journal to record unvarnished first impressions and instincts provides the trail of bread crumbs that may serve to help restore perspective, getting one out of the weeds if not clear of the darker canopy. "Fresh" eyes, ears, first impressions and instincts should be welcomed, your team will benefit from the clearly stupid questions of uninformed outsiders. Beware the "that's the way we've always done it" or the equally dangerous "because that's the way we do things around here" mindset, it's toxic and an end of days symptom. The "what" and "why" questions are critical, once answered the best "how" questions and options can be discovered and developed. Dare to be naive.

Dr Gary Hamel writes...

"Dakota tribal wisdom says that when you discover you're on a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount. Of course, there are other strategies. You can change riders. You can get a committee to study the dead horse. You can benchmark how other companies ride dead horses. You can declare that it's cheaper to feed a dead horse. You can harness several dead horses together. But after you've tried all these things, you're still going to have to dismount. The temptation to stay on a dead horse can be overwhelming...The time to start searching for new wealth-creating strategies is long before the horse stumbles...Denial is tragic. Delay is deadly. There is solid evidence that world-beating strategies seldom last even a decade...Success has never been more transient. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise...The companies that are creating new wealth are not just getting better; they're getting different - profoundly different."

How, exactly, is your venture profoundly different?

Allow me to suggest...In the first days of any new venture ask a deep variety of folks this question...what three things must I know about_________ (insert...this space, this market, this environment, this challenge, etc.). Keep a record of responses for study and reflection.

When I first arrived in Dallas a wise longtime local answered my question "What three things must I know about Dallas" with "you will be judged by 1) where you live 2) what you drive 3)the quality of your wife's jewelry"

Finally, one reason I admire and respect the work of Gary Hamel, Seth Godin, Edward deBono, Peter Drucker and Michael Michalko is they have each dared to approach common problems using uncommon perspectives. You'll benefit from a reading of each and all.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

"One has to start out with what is right rather than what is acceptable precisely because one always has to compromise in the end. But if one does not know what is right, one cannot distinguish between the right compromise and the wrong compromise - and will end up making the wrong compromise." Peter Drucker

Congrats to Kurt Hanson and his AccuRadio gang on their Webby Award nomination. Check out AccuRadio here.

Others nominated in the "radio" category include...


Voices BBC Cymru Wales

Youth Radio

Congrats to the good folks at Writely on their multiple nominations - well deserved - they rock!

And cheers too to CJR Daily for the blog nomination, NPR StoryCorps for the event nod, Epicurious in the F&B and Lifestyle categories (the very best receipe collection imho), and hometown fav The Onion in the humor category.

Review all of the nominations - a bloody great waste of bandwidth - here

E&P updates all the Jared Paul Stern-Page Six noise here, NYT to kill BoldFace Names sez Variety here

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Kurt Hanson and crew are presenting their annual Vegas summit Monday April 24th; Kurt's agenda kicks off at noon and runs until 5 when cocktails begin. Get ticket info and get hooked up asap - fair warning, limited seating - here. See you there! Kurt's summit is one of the top ten best reasons to get to Vegas, the others would include NAB and CES (Steve Wynn's Wynn properly deserves at least five of those reasons).

"Anyone attempting to enter music radio today has an advantage in learning from the best simply by spending some time hearing the icons of their chosen profession" John Rook

John Rook, the great legend of ABC's halcyon days, calls attention to another in need and one that might merit your attention. He writes...

Financing and volunteering his time without pay, Richard Irwin started the site ten years ago as a labor of love. A former radio programmer himself, “Uncle Ricky” like so many became a casualty of radios deregulation in recent times and has struggled to keep this fantastic collection of air checks featuring the cream of the crop of radios history alive.

Surely the thousands who are or have been a part of radio can afford to subscribe for just $12 annually. Many, who have enjoyed financial success as a direct result of radios great talent, should not only subscribe, but make a contribution here

For our own memories and to make radio history available for tomorrows generation of talent, do your part to provide a future for radio's past.

You may find John's latest writing here. Have to agree with John, if you have enjoyed any kind of success due to music radio please do take a moment and subscribe, you may also wish to consider a contribution. I wouldn't ask, nor would John, if Uncle Ricky didn't need it to continue his good work.

"...there are no accidents in his business at all. Accidents are just from where you're looking. To the ego, it looks like it's miracles and accidents. No miracles. No accidents. It's just your vantage point that you're sort of.....stuck in." Baba Ram Dass

Sad to hear Dan Kieley has passed. Dan did good work, cared enough to fuss over things until they hit just the right note. During his successful run at KIIS FM he was DK-LA; on his watch he lived LA deeply, he imagined then developed Wango Tango, and he left the station in better shape than he first found it. Along the way Dan collected his share of honors in well-deserved industry hardware (Gavin, R&R, Billboard, FMQB). He loved programming.

Over dinner in Minneapolis, the night before his job interview at KDWB, we discussed what was and what was not happening in radio. We talked about programming and living in the moment...the true essence of top 40. We came to discuss Ram Dass..."Remember...Be Here Now". Dan had made the drive to Minne from Omaha and he brought his A game. Dan Kieley got it, he understood the moment, he filled every moment of his life, packed every moment of his radio stations with a unique charge, a very local electric magic. Dan made a difference in his short life - he will be missed.

Still playing catch up on emails - please standby. For those wanting to know why comments are moderated...had to go that way to keep the spam off. Your comments are welcome.

Closed circuit to those who have emailed me or attempted to post comments regarding Steve Dahl v Howard Stern (no doubt the result of some posting on one or more of the Howard fan boards)...hold up

Howard was, in fact, not ahead of Steve in doing a stream of conscience act involving his friends, family, career and personal life. Steve remains, in my opinion, a major figure in personality radio. That Howard enjoyed distribution via a network while Steve has remained a major star in a single market has no weight in any discussion of style or original contribution. My sense is Steve's contribution to radio can be compared with Frank Gehry's contribution to space. Both, in my view, are iconoclastic architects - postmodern expressionists. For the Howard fans...I have elected not to post your comments because I did not want to edit the profanity; let me suggest you re-post without the language and I'll clear it. I certainly recognize Howard's contribution but the record is clear on the timeline issues here.

Get me re-write! - Department of Media History. Got a few emails related to "WICV-FM" and George J Weinbarg said to be "the youngest major market ND in the country" while serving at Chicago's WICV, a General Cinema station. First, I am not aware of any such station in Chicago radio history. The General Cinema station was WEFM, a storied station, a one-time famous classical station that came to be top 40 under the guidance of Jerry Clifton and later Kevin Metheny. WEFM was also one of the first to broadcast in stereo along with WKFM (the later WFYR). The nation's first 24 hour FM news initiative - on an FM music station - debuted on RKO's WFYR in Chicago. Thanks to our truly exceptional sales leadership (Lee Simonson and later Drew Horowitz) and the full support of corporate (Paul Drew, Jerry Lyman & Dwight Case) we did what no FM music station had done before, make those investments required to create and sustain a news shop competitive with the big kids on AM. Perhaps General Cinema did use the WICV call letter at one time and they did feature a ground-breaking news effort but I am not able to find any evidence that it actually happened. Please get in touch with me if you have any such recollection. Thanks. I do have a clipping from the Chicago Tribune wherein Gary Deeb wrote " one of the glittering jewels of Chicago radio. It's not only the city's finest FM station by far; it also could be the best and most responsible FMer in America."

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Coverage of the Jared Paul Stone mess via DN here

"...the first question you must ask yourself every day is, Why should people choose my restaurant? In a great city there are hundreds of choices. As a hip musician friend once asked, 'Does it pass the who cares test?'...So why should someone pick my place...or yours?" Daniel Boulud - Letters to a Young Chef

Daniel's little book is a gem. His "first question" is one every manager working in media must ask themselves daily...why should people choose my _______ (insert: book, station, morning show, 11 show, web site, et al)?

According to Barron's, Alfred Liggins sold 375,000 of Radio One Class D common for $2.8 mil. The sale represents a fraction of the over ten million class D shares held by Liggins and his mother Catherine Hughes. Ben Silverman, research director at is quoted...

"The radio business is a tough business these days, especially when you are a niche radio with a target demographic," says Silverman. These sales are "another sign that there are still a lot of near-term bumps in the road.

Deutsche Bank analyst James Dix wrote in a Feb. 26 research report that he views the stock as "dead money" in the near term, but has a Buy rating despite management's significantly pared-back expectations. He said "recent initiatives" should help bump the shares to $11 over the next 12 months.

Silverman says, "This is the family business and they have shown no inclination in the past to sell the business or not control it--that's not a concern. The concern is, 'Why are they selling the stock now on multi-year lows?'"

Joshua Hong, director of research Web site, suggests that Liggins sold the shares to pay back a loan Radio One extended to him in 2001 to buy company shares.

The Barron's Online article is here (sub req)

The media weasel of the week award to New York Post Page Six dude Jared Paul Stern. You may check out excerpts from Stern's shakedown of Ron Burkle via New York Daily News here

Friday, April 07, 2006

"Four people are sitting around a table, talking about baseball. Five minutes of it, very dull. Suddenly a bomb goes off, blows people to smithereens. What does the audience have? Ten seconds of shock. Now take the same scene. Tell the audience there is a bomb under the table and it will go off in five minutes. Well, the emotion of the audience is very different. Now the conversation about baseball becomes very vital because the audience is saying: 'Don't be ridiculous. Stop talking about baseball, there's a bomb under there.' You've got the audience working. You can't expect the audience to go into any kind of emotion without giving them some information"

Hitchcock - on how to create suspense

Steve Dahl is a media icon. To say Stever is a Chicago radio star, while certainly true, would leave much, too much, unsaid. Against all odds, Steve has created a unique, original, enduring, and very successful media property - The Steve Dahl Show. One of the first who dared to pull back the curtain inviting listeners to vicariously participate in his show, his career and in his personal life, Steve is an estimable, legendary performer. Moreover, he is one of the influential architects of what we have come to take for granted on the radio. Before Howard introduced his daily ensemble drama, Steve was the apostate who threw the FM music format overboard electing to preside over a reinvention of the radio theater company. But wait...there's more. Steve has also achieved success in music, television and the printed word. The man has created an extensive body of original work and he's just now reaching the top of his game. Show business, entertainment is Steve's metier.

Ever the savvy EP, Steve consistently demonstrates a rare acuity for the moment at hand. Writing in his web log this morning Steve says...

Fred “Fried” Winston will be filling in for Buzz on Friday. Buzz is going in for a tummy tuck and butt lift. He’s donating some flesh to me so I can have that wrist enhancement surgery I’ve always dreamed about. I’ve known Fred forever, and I think he’s a really talented and funny guy. I’m hoping I can help launch his talk radio career. Not that he hasn’t always been a talker, but with no music format to hamper him.

Others would see it as one of the cast taking the day off, Steve understands it to be an opportunity for great theater. Fred is, as Steve has written, a talented and funny guy. Further, Fred, in his own right, is a performer that has also earned and deserves the title of legend. Steve and Fred this afternoon, priceless, don't miss it if you can. Bravo Stever!

It is CBS Radio's good fortune to have signed killer talent the likes of Steve and Fred. Thanks to Joel Hollander you may listen in live and stream today's Steve Dahl Show here (rr). If you are a performer or member of one of media's crack management teams please let me suggest you spend a moment to review a proper web site - Steve Dahl has done a great job with his site, check it out here. Congrats and kudos also to Steve for his venture to help Chicago Ed, buy Steve's CD and help Ed here

Thursday, April 06, 2006

"Every salesperson, program director and manager will have to become completely versed on the metrics this system will provide.

We will have to learn and teach others simultaneously.

We will all have to go back to school on the ratings. But I am confident that local radio will prove its value as a friend, information source and advertising medium and that the Greater Media stations will prove their worth in their individual markets."

Peter Smyth - on the future of media measurement

Greater Media CEO and marketing rock star Peter Smyth is now writing an online newsletter, highly suggested, check it out here. My sense is...the newest wave of rock stars will be from research. The recent Time Inc very smart move...hiring Betsy Frank, serves as an early indicator of this trend.

Gary LaPierre, star of WBZ and New England radio, announces retirement...

"After more than 4 decades at WBZ NEWSRADIO 1030, Gary LaPierre on Wednesday announced his retirement. He explained the time is right. "I still love what I'm doing but there comes a point in your life when you say, 'Ok you've done that long enough'..I'd like to try some other things." Gary has not decided on his future plans. He will continue to anchor the WBZ Morning News until the end of the year.

Gary began his broadcasting career in 1964, when he reported on The Beatles first visit to Boston. He has covered a number of presidential campaigns and conventions. Gary was also the lead anchor for WBZ's continuous coverage of the 911 attacks."

I enjoyed the honor and privilege of serving Gary during my time at WBZ. Of the many fine news shops I have been associated with over the years, WBZ remains very special to me. Gary is an exceptionally gifted talent, outstanding broadcast journalist and a great gentleman. Coverage by Greg Gatlin in The Boston Herald here. 'BZ'ing you Gary!

Steve Rubel, the prince of PR, guests on an audio program with Jack Trout, the subject is word of mouth. 19 minutes, good overview on the state of the art, via mp3 here. Bravo to Jack, Errol Smith, Rick Murray and Steve for a job well done.

From Billboard Radio Monitor...

ABC Radio news/talk KGO San Francisco has named Paul Hosley news director. He most recently was asssociate director news and programming at crosstown CBS Radio news KCBS-AM and replaces Greg Tantum who left earlier this year to program Bonneville news/talk WTWP-AM & FM Washington, D.C.

Congrats to Paul - another smart hire award to Jack!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

"What does it all mean?...Beyond the loud crashing of the great glass ceiling, what else does this episode tell us? Here are a few of my thoughts and opinions (i.e., label this “commentary”). Vaughn Ververs

Congrats and kudos to Ververs and company for fine coverage, with comments, of today's announcement, here and here.

Very cool news from Cirque du Soleil...Lyn's written a book! From the club newsletter just in...

A book about experiencing creativity!The Spark is the latest creation from Cirque du Soleil's former President of Creative Content, Lyn Heward. Lyn, who oversaw the creation of shows from Alegra to K, has drawn on her unique perspective and talents to deliver a story that's not only a pleasure to read, but also dares the reader to dream. And, as you'll discover in the book, "When you finally give voice to your dreams, you never know what's going to happen."

Get into the club and preorder Lyn's book - also for members, a sneak at the first chapter (PDF), check it out here. Bravo Lyn!

"Like all true artists, I was determined to bring my own mighty vision before the public, no matter what that effort might entail...Time and the public would prove me right, as they had so many times before." Bette Midler, A View from a Broad

Congrats to Katie and to CBS. After a fifteen year run on Today, a record, she leaves Today on top - the most successful (ratings and revenue) program in the NBC news division and in all of morning television. What is amazing are the early comments. The new 6:30 show might turn out to be a refreshing departure, a new beginning (or ending), a fine work of great television, however, online, the majority of comments I've read are negative. I say give the lady a chance. More on this later this the meantime...

Jeff don't like the hire, not one tiny bit, here (Jeff - not able to agree; also the DLR hire has nothing in common with the Katie hire - the former lacked any media experience - excepting your personal tastes). TV Newser is on the case, the usual suspects and more linked here. Poynter's Al Thompkins provides good coverage w/comments here

Way past the time it was first past the time to dump Andy Rooney and get the man on the Metro North headed home with his last check in hand. Rooney's comments re Katie with the Iman this morning were beyond the pale. Further, Rooney's best work is behind him, his recent writing fails to deserve his share of the show's oxygen. The man has become a bad imitation of a muppet. Enough; assign Jon Stewart an additional duty, to do the end notes on sixty (with the help of his fine writing staff).

Later - Jeff Jarvis does write stuff worth reading but now he writes re Katie...

"LATER: Judging from the comments, I clearly left out an important factor: People like Katie Couric. They really like her.

And I do mean that’s an important factor. Earlier anchors were not likeable and were not meant to be. They were supposed to be trusted, right?

Likeability is a new attribute of journalism."

And again, reasonable folks can disagree and I do. Likeability has been an attribute of journalism since the invention of choice. If readers, listeners or viewers don't like you they don't read, listen or watch you. "Early anchors were not likeable and were not meant to be" is not intellectually honest and it's nonsense. Come on Jeff, you know better.

"Frederick gave Bach an impossibly long and complex musical figure and asked the old master to make a three-part fugue of it...So difficult was the figure Bach was given that the twentieth century's foremost composer of counterpoint, Arnold Schoenberg, marveled at the fact that it had been so cleverly contrived that it 'did not admit one single canonic imitation' - in other words, that the Royal Theme, as it has come to be known, was constructed to be as resistant to counterpoint as possible. Still, Bach managed, with almost unimaginable ingenuity, to do it..." James R. Gaines - Evening in the Palace of Reason

Reading Gaines, a deft writer, wonderful style, great story telling - his book is now out in paper. Bach meets Frederick the Great - Highly recommended.

Scott Rosenberg writes in Salon...

"But there's nothing god-given or force-of-nature-like to the shape of their product or business; it's simply an artifact of history that you could roll together a bundle of disparate information -- news reports, stock prices, sports scores, display ads, reviews, classified ads, crossword puzzles and so on -- sell it to readers, and make money.

Today that bundle has already fallen apart on the content side: there's simply no reason for newspapers to publish stock prices, for instance; it's a practice that will simply disappear over the next few years -- it's sheer tree slaughter. On the business side, it is beginning to fall apart, too. It just makes way more sense to do classified advertising online.

The loss of classified revenues doesn't doom newspapers, by any means. But if classifieds represent -- as Menn's piece says -- 27 percent of newspaper revenue, and the newspaper industry is accustomed to a 20 percent profit margin, well, your industry just went from a healthy black to a nasty red.

What should be really alarming for newspaper owners is that the same process that ate their classified income is going to affect their other revenue streams. Just as classifieds went from costly to free, the display advertising will begin to dry up, as youth-seeking national advertisers follow their targets to the online world. And the very core of the newspaper product, the professional news report, is under siege, thanks to a myriad of missteps in the newsrooms and the rise of amateur (in the best sense), free alternatives."

The four hundred year death spiral continues for the dead tree gang. Read Scott's well written commentary cum comments here. (Thanks to Dave Winer for the tip)

Elizabeth bows DealBreaker here, Congrats and Cheers!

Thanks to popurls we have discovered Pixrat, in beta, here

Enjoy baseball? Gotta love all the inside baseball via Ballbug, here