Thursday, July 30, 2009

How 'Bout A Little Inspiration Today?

From last week's TEDGlobal 2009: Alain de Botton examines our ideas of success and failure -- and questions the assumptions underlying these two judgments. Is success always earned? Is failure? He makes an eloquent, witty case to move beyond snobbery to find true pleasure in our work.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A Sharp Stick In The Eye Would Be Better

The fairness doctrine is dead, but that doesn't mean some other doctrine can't and won't emerge to regulate content. Aside from free speech issues, which are plentiful, the last thing radio needs is the government keeping tabs on what radio hosts are saying or playing. PERIOD.

You may have read the lead story on Tom Taylor's Taylor on Radio-Info this morning:

How fair is this?

Balanced Talk Radio“It won’t be called the Fairness Doctrine…”

One D.C. expert is convinced that some leading Democrats have a grand plan to re-institute a rule requiring balance on the airwaves – just the thing that conservative talkshow hosts have made such a boogeyman out of. This may sound like a paranoia alert, but the D.C. guy says “I’ve never seen such communication between the FCC and the White House.” I asked how often they’re talking, and he says “daily.” He describes a constant stream of people from the Portals (the FCC) visiting the White House. He acknowledges that both President Obama and new FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski have waved off a return of the Fairness Doctrine as it existed until 1987. But he believes “they’ll have something like it, under the guise of the FCC’s Localism initiative or something else. It might even be a rider onto some bill in Congress.” Would that be constitutional? Probably not. But more and more folks seem to think there will be an effort from Congress and/or the FCC to “restore balance” to radio – particularly talk radio. If you think the conservative talkers have made a lot of noise about the Obama birth certificate, wait until they see a law or regulation about “balance.”

I am not looking to turn this into a political debate, at least not here in this forum, but the idea of the government telling a station [owner] they have too much or too little conservative or liberal talk on a particular station is chilling. I don't care if it's Randy or Ed or Rush or Sean...keep your stinkin' paws off of free speech. Let the marketplace of ideas sort itself out. It always does.

This is not an issue just for the ideologues to wrestle with. This is an issue for ALL of us to stand together and oppose. We must let OUR government know we don't want nor will we tolerate regulating what can be said and in what amount.

Think it can't happen? Nobody thought General Motors would go bankrupt either.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

What Should Radio's Freemium Model Be?

In other words what digital content can radio stations produce that would be worth someone paying for? It certainly won't be a simulcast stream of your terrestrial signal.

Newspapers are wrestling with this issue. For them, this problem is even more acute since moneymaker sections such as the classifieds are a mere shadow of the past. What exactly can they charge for and will enough people be willing to pay for it? I just read an interesting post on how FT (Financial Times) has a pilot program where they allow readers free access nine times each month and after that there is a fee. And while I am not suggesting that idea to be transferred to radio sites; it is an interesting idea. If you want to read more about that story check it out on Fred Wilson's A VC blog.

We must be thinking about what type of entertainment or special service our listeners would find valuable enough to pay for. I've got a list of ideas from ranging ring tones to behind the scenes access. I develop and share these ideas with my clients every day. As CPM's continue to decline, countless music options continue to emerge and stations continue to pare down their presentation to try to take advantage of PPM radio might very well find itself with less and less to sell. Well, as much as always to sell, just not enough customers interested in buying it.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Twitter 101

When it comes to social networking I am an advocate of "fishing where the fish are;" meaning making use of the public social networking sites to connect with listeners. As relationships are built, then, give listeners good reason to visit and partake in proprietary station digital platforms. I believe this strategy enables radio stations to connect and build relationships with many more people in a much shorter time span.

To many, Twitter is still a bit mysterious--it's use, it's value, and it's benefits. Today I read this from post on WebNewser. As you will read Twitter has launched Twitter 101--a guide to how businesses can effectively use the service. It will be basic for some, but for others it will provide a wealth of information.

Twitter 101: Twitter for Businesses

FortuneTwitterBizStone.jpgTwitter co-founder Biz Stone announced the launch of the Twitter 101 initiative during an interview with Fortune editor at large Adam Lashinsky during the magazine's Fortune Brainstorm: Tech summit in Pasadena, Calif., Thursday.

Lashinsky asked when Twitter will implement plans to begin making money, and Stone replied, "The plan is to do that this year—to show some signs of life for a revenue approach," adding that Twitter 101 was the "first step."

On the Twitter blog, Stone wrote:

Many are seeing a wide variety of businesses using Twitter in interesting ways to create value for customers and consumers. As a result, we're often invited by businesses and organizations to talk about Twitter and how it can be used to better engage with customers. Twitter is still a small team, so it made more sense to do some research and make it widely available rather than personally visit businesses big and small.
We coordinated with business students and writers to surface some interesting findings, best practices, steps for getting started and case studies. The results demonstrate how customers are getting value out of Twitter and suggest techniques businesses can employ to enhance that value. While this work was envisioned for businesses, it's also useful for anyone using Twitter, so have a look if you like.

Twitter101Logo.jpgTwitter 101, as the name indicates, starts off with the basics, with sections on the home page entitled "So what does Twitter do for businesses?," "So how does it work?" and "So how do businesses use Twitter?." The home page also includes basic introductory sections like "A brief history of Twitter," "What's up with the name?" and "Why 140 characters?"

The secondary pages on Twitter 101 are: "Getting started," "Learn the lingo," "Best practices," "Case studies" and "Other resources."

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

It Could Be Worse

From e-Marketer:

Advertising Spending in North America, by Media, 2009 & 2013 (millions and CAGR)

And for those wondering, CAGR is the Compound Annual Growth Rate.

I know -4.3 doesn't look so good. Hard to argue otherwise. But as radio continues to better understand and deploy content for the internet we should be able to capture some of the growth from that potentially lucrative sector. Right? Exactly.

As I often like to do...let me end this post with a question.

What have you done to enhance you digital content and sales effort today?

Thursday, July 16, 2009


garykoelling- sr. manager social technology

Fantastic presentation at the Conclave today.

Please read.

"You can lose listeners, but you can't lose friends!!"

Gary Koelling from Best Buy @ the Conclave 2009

Monday, July 13, 2009

Best Buy Takes HD Radio Portable

Is $49.99 cheap enough to entice consumers to buy a radio? Yes, a radio. Not an HD Radio (which of course it is)...just a radio. Look around, most people buy things that have radios in them...clock radios, car radios, home theater audio systems (stereos if you like), etc. Outside of radio enthusiasts when did "Sam and Sally Smith" last buy a standalone radio? Exactly. One notable thing missing from this unit is any kind of digital media storage. Seems like a no brainer, but I guess that addition would of killed the $49.99 price point. Here's the Engadget story.

Insignia NS-HD01: first-ever portable HD Radio on sale at Best Buy

Remember that first-ever portable HD Radio prototype we peeked back in May? Turns out Best Buy just let loose the real-deal, today announcing immediate availability of the Insignia NS-HD01. Needless to say, the big box retailer and supporters of HD Radio alike are hoping that this subscription-free player will finally put some much-needed wind behind the sails of the format, and while it's pretty simple in nature, the sub-$50 price tag could place it squarely in the "impulse buy" category. The relatively brief specs list includes a color LCD, rechargeable Li-ion battery, a 3.5 millimeter headphone jack, a bundled armband and ten user-selectable preset memory channels. You can catch the full release after the break, and the player itself in your nearest Best Buy.

Sunday, July 12, 2009


Have some today. I mean real, honest-to-goodness, from the pit of your soul passion.

That's it.

If you (as many of you as possible) can accomplish this one [simple] goal today, our industry can't help but be better for it.

[pash-uhn] –noun
any powerful or compelling emotion or feeling; a strong or extravagant fondness, enthusiasm, or desire for anything

Friday, July 10, 2009

What Does Jay Leno's Garage Have To Do With Radio?

Have you ever checked out Jay Leno's car-crazy website Jay Leno's Garage? As you may know his "garage" is really a hangar-sized warehouse filled with all his cars and motorcycles--both classic and new cars. It's an amazing collection. A big part of the site is the videos he produces showcasing one of these cars every week.

The video below is Jay talking about and driving the new Chevy Camaro. It's very interesting to take a video tour of this car--its a cool ride. Jay made a point to talk about how improved these cars are from the GM cars of the 80's and 90's. He also pointed out that in the past when he had visited GM, Chrysler, and Ford in Detroit the companies would roll out the salespeople and accountant types; but this time he was met by the engineers. Imagine that, allowing the creative people to take center stage and do what they do best. Imagine if we did the same thing in the radio business. Well said Jay.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Time Well Spent

Next week (July 16-18) is The Conclave. I hope you can make it to Minneapolis this year!

Not the easiest year to find a way to make it here, but it will be worth it if you can. It's always a great gathering--great people, great ideas, great sessions, and of course our fantastic summer weather here in Minneapolis.

I will be moderating a panel this year:
Saturday 10A Management-Programming Track/Session #5-Airchecking Your Website Sarah van Mosel, Vice President of Sales, InterTech Media; Harve Alan, President, Have Alan Media. The website is more than just a place for jock photos – it’s a full-blown sales and marketing tool. Our faculty will share actionable information and examples to help you make your web site the best it can be
This is a subject near and dear to my heart and I am happy to share my thoughts and ideas with you!

Also, please check out this session:
Thursday 5P Tech-Interactive Track/Session #2 – A Tale of Two Podcasts Presenters: Dawn and Drew Domkus "The Dawn and Drew Show", Brian and Mike "The Brian and Mike Show", Moderator: Phil Wilson, Director ADM. It seems like podcasts are as plentiful as, well, i-pods. Is anybody listening? Is anybody making money? In this session, two successful podcast shows, one created by radio broadcasters and the other by "civilians", talk about how they got into podcasting, what they are doing to grow an audience and what, if anything they are doing or plan to do to generate revenue. Join Dawn and Drew Domkus of "The Dawn and Drew Show" and Brian and Mike of "The Brian and Mike Show" for this must-attend session for anyone who is currently podcasting or thinking about whether podcasting is the right move.
I've been working with Brian and Mike since before the launch of their podcast, and as you will learn at the session things have gone exceptionally well. Great content will always find an audience and that is exactly what has happened.

I hope to see you at The Conclave.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

A Change For The Millennials

And maybe an opportunity for RADIO. Maybe.

Much has been written about the generational differences between Millennials and everybody else--particularly in the workplace. Organizations we told they must adjust to the new paradigm and change the way they manage these new employees as they begin their first or second job. It was said that this group of workers felt a sense of entitlement and had fragile and easily derailed self esteem. Then the bottom fell out of the economy and all bets were off. Companies then began reducing workforces, shuffling the decks, and looking any and all ways to stay afloat.

So now the Millennials are experiencing a dose of difficult reality, and, as you will read all this bad news may be just what the doctor ordered. Reality has set in and Millennials are stepping up and focusing their energy on hard work and innovation without the drama. Could this shift in thinking among the youngest in the workforce be just what radio needs? Can we, to use a 90's buzzword, leverage this new found energy and workplace reality to stock our radio stations with Millennials? That is if we can attract this work hungry group to get interested in radio and get those who control the purse strings to see something other than default in their future.

Written by a Millennial generation writer, Jonathan Lewis, this AdAge article is enlightening. I found it to be honest, blunt, and optimistic. It was worth my time and I hope yours too.

Bad News Could Be the Best Thing for Millennials

Viewpoint: Jonathan Lewis Hopes Economic Hardship Knocks a Little Sense Into His Generation

Jonathan Lewis
Jonathan Lewis

I hope you enjoyed it while it lasted, because the excess that fueled Generation Y and the current economic meltdown is fading fast -- along with, I hope, the most negative characteristics of our generation. Whether you've just graduated into the worst job market in decades, were recently laid off or shudder every time your manager calls an impromptu meeting, one thing is true: Like it or not, you and I are going to face some very difficult personal and professional decisions.

Do you remember when, not long ago, volumes of articles, books and even conferences were springing up attempting to teach the "old-school" business community how to best manage this upcoming and unique generation entering the work force? Authors used terms such as "entitled" and "narcissistic" to describe what they called the most digitally connected and self-focused generation to walk the earth. Ample advice was given on how to best manage our fragile self-esteem, fickle career decisions and, as freelance writer Carol Forsloff put it, resistance "to anything that doesn't involve praise and rewards." The only positive thing said about us was our intimate knowledge of technology, and even that is being eroded by the boomers' rush to embrace it (my mother-in-law just friended me on Facebook).

I don't know about you, but having to write the above paragraph about myself and my generation has me more than a little embarrassed. That's why I hope the current economy and accompanying hardships will do more than scare us. I hope they will knock a little sense into us too.

We're not the first generation to face tough times. If we can heed some of the following age-old advice and learn a thing or two from folks who have gone through this before, not only will we have a better chance to thrive through this hardship, we might just disprove a few stereotypes along the way.

1. Get over yourself
The only thing self-esteem gave us was a dangerous dose of entitlement. If we're going to come out of this downturn alive, we're going to have to remember one thing: No one owes us anything. We earn what we get, and that "earn" part involves time and effort. Our employers and interviewers don't care if their demands interfere with our lunch appointment or 8 a.m. workout. And frankly, we can't afford to have the world revolve around us anymore. We must take a bite of humble pie, prove our value and get over our collective selves.

2. Remember what your mama told you
There's a reason Robert Fulghum wrote "All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten." He understood the value of mastering the basics. And chances are your mom did too. She sure didn't teach you to stroll in to work at 9:30 a.m. or take that extra-long lunch. And you can just imagine what she would say if she saw the apparel you deemed appropriate for work this morning. No matter what happens in the world around us, the fundamentals never change. Be professional. Work hard. Honor your word. Do unto others ... I mean, seriously, I know our generation doesn't emerge from adolescence until we're 25, but c'mon. Grow up.

3. Get off your butt and innovate
It wasn't buckets of cash or bailouts that pulled our grandparents out of the Great Depression. It was the hard work of a generation, a bloody world war and some of the most groundbreaking innovation the world has ever seen. Economies don't recover when generations sit on their hands hoping someone else will fix their problems.

According to author and speaker Alexandra Levit, Holly Hoffman took this to heart when she saw layoffs looming at the national newspaper corporation she worked for in Texas. Instead of lying low in team meetings, she decided to take things into her own hands. Hoffman explained, "As the bottom person, I knew that I would be eliminated unless I could directly tie my position to profits. So instead of just using the sales program I was given, I interviewed our field reps to see how we could improve it." Levit reported that "Ms. Hoffman's revamped sales program was expanded to three additional newspapers, earning her a promotion even as many of her friends were being laid off."

If we are going to do more than just survive in this environment, we must step up to the plate, put our green pencils to recycled paper and innovate our way to success.

4. Things will never be the same
Our nation's rush to borrow its way out of debt has more than a few economists worried. And you can bet your Euros it's our generation that will pay for this mess. The era of "Bad credit? No problem" is over, and the luxuries we've taken for granted are slipping away. We're inheriting incomprehensible debt, unsustainable social programs and leaders who think the way to fix the problem is to keep doing more of the same thing. You and I have to come to terms with the knowledge that more trouble is heading our way, and hiding from it won't make it disappear. Like any major challenge, you can't deal with the problem until you admit that you have one.

5. Berlin or bust
Our grandparents faced a similar situation during their generation's greatest challenge. The Great Depression and WWII fostered hardships we can't even imagine -- yet. It was the excesses of their parents' generation, embodied by the Roaring Twenties, that fueled their hardships. Their response: Stand firm, work hard and help a neighbor.

And now we're faced with a similar choice. Our grandparents could have thrown in the towel and resigned themselves to their poor lot in life, but they didn't. They rose to the challenge and earned their place in history as the Greatest Generation. So what will our response be? Will we wait for someone to swoop in and fix our problems, or will we build off our strengths, harness the incredible tools at our disposal and pull ourselves up by our Nike shoestrings? With a little old-school work ethic and innovation, we can take our new-school technology and show our critics, and the world, what our generation is really made of.

It's yet to be seen if this worst-case scenario will end up being the best thing to happen to our generation. But one thing is certain: The choice is ours.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Teens and Twitter...And Other Misconseptions

Consulting firm, The Hartman Group has a new podcast discussing the misconceptions of teen tech behavior. Some interesting findings and some simple common sense.

Click here to listen to the podcast