Come Together, Right Now….

Jackson Weaver & Eric Rhoads

The plane was full and it seemed half the passengers were Seattle radio folks heading to Radio Ink magazine’s first Convergence Conference in the Bay Area. What a buzz there was on that plane. The entire opportunity of the Internet was exploding and we were so cool to be riding the crest. It was 2000 – and the bubble was still inflating like a helium balloon at Puyallup. We were going to invent the future of media…and we did and didn’t.

Few would argue the promise has largely passed traditional media – search, SEO, social media, Craigslist and blogs all exploded and largely left radio and TV playing catch up.

So here we are a decade later…and again, I’m heading to join Eric Rhoads and his team at Radio Ink’s annual event in SJO…to a much more pragmatic, business based conference. The conference is to share new revenue producing ideas for radio stations.

Hoping for 3-5% of their revenue from new media – many stations still struggle to build a viable model. There will be ton of good ideas again this year at the Radio Ink Convergence during the week.  I’ll post some of the ideas as I can.   Always welcome your feedback.

Fever Started Long Time Ago…

101 KLOL Rocks Houston

Years ago I was in Houston. No idea the reason  – though the city’s charm has always been lost on me…but I’m not a Texan, so what do I know?

While driving in the balmy blast furnace of a summer day I heard an unbelievable version of the classic ‘Fever’ by Bruce (Springsteen, hello!?) on the radio. It was unbelievable. I was one of the original Bruce fans – when he released E-Street Shuffle I was hyping for Columbia records – so I thought I’d heard all of his material.  Apparently not.

So I call the the legendary AOR stick KLOL – asked for the music director, Jim Hilty, tell him I am a Bruce fan …but had never heard ‘Fever’.  To that point, the song hadn’t ever been released on LP (vinyl was the medium du jour). Jim just casually said, “Yeh I’ll send you a copy.” Which he did. On a 7’ reel-to-reel which meant he had to dub it real time…nothing high speed. And he included three other bootleg live cuts from Joe’s in Boston (presumably a hip cool place).

Last night I stumbled on the tape and dubbed it down to a WAV file and thought about the work he went to in order to send me this tape.

That’s Nordstrom quality customer service.  Thanks Jim.

Facebook Fatigue…

Yogi Berra

Privacy issues aside – has anyone else begun to tire of Facebook?

First of all – the thrill is gone. I’ve connected with anyone I’ve ever known …or really care to have connected with.

Secondly – maybe it’s my family and friends but some postings are so banal and narcissistic I wonder why I’m wasting my time.

Thirdly – “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain…” The privacy issue that’s bloomed lately doesn’t bother me as much as the convoluted, Rube Goldberg privacy setting process they constructed. Makes me wonder what they ARE hiding behind the curtain.

Maybe Yogi Berra was right when he said, “ That place is so popular no one goes there anymore.”?

Why do they say these things…?

We’ve all got friends who just have to be the first to know. A marriage break up, a new i-whatever from Apple, scoop on a business deal – they just have to be first.

But it was pretty absurd when veteran news anchor Steve Raible (KIRO TV) told me in a ‘we’ve got ya covered’ reassuring tone that they had been the first to report – at the hour of 4:30 this morning – before anyone else knew what was going on – that…wait a minute…sit down…and hold on to your AP style journal…that there was a house fire in Lacy. No one hurt…and it was quickly doused.

Why do they say these kinds of things?

And now Google TV….

Redefined TV? Google TV.

This is scary. Google TV was announced today. Simply put, it’s scary. 

Google TV is fabulous – one of those things that frankly, only Google with their search DNA could pull off. It’s remarkably simple and free of the complexity that previous internet/TV hybrids have exhibited. I think consumers will love it. Love it. 

What’s scary? Well – trees don’t grow to the sky. But Google’s growth apparently hasn’t begun to flatten – at least not in the search/content arena. They may have ‘issues’ with mobile…but when it comes to search they are leaving everyone behind. 

For some time, I’ve been nodding my head and sagely saying Google will reach their natural limit pretty soon and – much like previous Goliaths (GM, Microsoft, IBM, etc.)  – stumble into some humility. 

I may have been wrong.

OFC – The Old F____ Club

Pat O'Day - KJR Seattle Radio Legend

A batch of ex-radio guys…many of them former jocks (aka: Boss Jocks, on-air talent, announcers, etc.) get together as members of the OFC to talk about radio’s past.  The meetings are held in the famous Andy’s Dinner – a collection of six old passenger rail cars  that served really marginal food in a bordello atmosphere – perfect hang place for media rats in Seattle for decades. 

The stories are great – like hearing Burl Barer talk about the girls the  record promo guys sent around to ‘push’ a record…or Pat O’Day telling about the days when Frank Sinatra owned part of KJR but never set foot in the place. 

 But – to the chagrin of the OFC – the old days will not return…no radio station will ever have the 25-30% share of audience that big top 40 stations had in the 50s and 60s.  No city will ever be paralyzed again by a “Big 610 Last Contest”.  And larger than life personalities are pretty human these days.   

The exciting challenge for radio today is to stay relevant in a new media age. Shouldn’t be impossible – there are 350 million radios out there.  Give people a reason to listen and they’ll be there. 

 It just won’t be like the old days.

The Naive Network…

Original NBC logo

NBC – the TV network that once used the slogan, “Proud as a Peacock!” is now reinventing themselves out of the ratings cellar hoping to be both ‘smart’ and ‘playful’ according the WSJ this morning.

But – don’t you dare watch them and think ‘whimsical’ or ‘naïve’.  That they clearly do not want.  It’s true.  They actually said that.

Do these guys actually think that a TV network has a brand? The shows have brand…but a network brand has only rubbed off on the critics and to a degree the advertisers. The viewers?  Not much.

“The world we used to know… people tell me it don’t turn anymore…” Steely Dan, from “Midnight Cruiser”.