Cynicism & Down Vests

Who better than the least fashionable human being you know to connect the dots between distrust of the media and clothing, specifically down vests?

Don’t think I can do it? And here I thought you trusted me.

Anyway, here’s where I prove you wrong, so read on…but in case you’re too lazy to do so, here’s the takeaway: Cynics are everywhere. Great ideas are not. Don’t let the cynics hold you back.

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Messaging Gone Bad & The Curious Case Of Antonio Villaraigosa

This isn’t a story about politics; it’s a story about advertising. In particular, it’s about how you get your message out in 2018.

Something’s clearly fishy in Messagingland, and if a political candidate with a massive war chest, tons of structural advantages, and a clearly definable target audience couldn’t cut through the marketplace clutter enough to avoid a curbstomping, it’s probably time for you to take a long look at your messaging efforts.

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Memo To Radio: Your Mortal Enemy Is Now Your BFF

Cliché alert: radio’s been…please, stop me before I use the d-word…disrupted. (And if you think I’m now filled with self-loathing for using the word-that-should-have-jumped-the-shark-five-years-ago, you’re probably right.) That said, I’d like to propose an extremely radical, but necessary, notion: terrestrial radio needs to completely rethink the idea of “competition.” (And yes, the same goes for the rest of the entertainment-industrial complex.)

For us radio folk, that notion is anathema to our very being. After all, you don’t get into the radio content biz unless you love intense competition. We’ve all got stories about “radio wars” we love to relive.

A couple of my war stories are after the jump, but here’s your spoiler alert: The radio station you used to consider your “direct competitor” is now your best ally.

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Radio Needs To Go Over The Top

A quote from the founder of the Local Online Advertising Conference set me off, and here it is: “[R]adio’s competitors are more interested in podcasting and smart speakers than the radio industry itself. That’s because those in the print and TV industries view the digital space quite differently than radio. Theirs is a ‘multiplatform’ strategy, meaning they’ll seize upon any new platform as a distribution method for their content. This extends to things like OTT video programming. How many radio stations do you know have an OTT program or even know what it is?”

Let’s talk about what OTT should mean for radio.

If you’re turning a profit with the content you produce, you’re sharing a ton of that profit with the distribution channels – y’know, the broadcast and cable networks – who are airing your content. Said differently: if you’re the NFL, and you can distribute all your content – including the actual games – to consumers directly, why would you share any of the revenue earned by that content with ESPN, a broadcast network, or anyone else? (And if you’re a popular syndicated radio host, you’re sharing a ton of your revenue with local radio in exchange for access to their distribution channels, which you call transmitters.)

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A Death In The Entertainment Family

Forgive me, but I’m about to get very personal with you. And, as with almost everything else, I’m going to use my personal feelings to talk about something I love: showbiz.

A family member was placed in hospice care a few weeks ago. I’m not talking about a human being, of course. I’m talking about a radio station, or said more appropriately in these parts, an entertainment brand. I’ve been thinking a lot about – well, everything – lately, and I’ve come to two sets of observations, both of them painfully obvious and yet not, all of which can be summed up by this reality:

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Engagement 101: The Boss Answers To The Fans

One of the more remarkable things I’ve read lately is a piece that showed up in the New York Times last week in which Dean Baquet, the Times’ Executive Editor, answers questions from readers about changes to the way The Gray Lady is restructuring her editorial department, eliminating the copy desk and shedding some editors in the process.

There are two really important takeaways from the piece. The first is something I’ve been telling you about for years. The second will surprise you, but it shouldn’t.

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Your Brand Is A Soap Opera. Deal With It.

A friend of mine sent me this incredibly entertaining Rolling Stone piece called “The Slow Death of the Great Wrestling Promo”. You should read it.

Of course, you didn’t take your mother’s advice to eat your vegetables when you were growing up, so I doubt you’ll take my advice now. Here’s a two-part summary with a my comments in italics…followed by my real point, which is only tangentially connected to Rolling Stone’s point:

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The Revolution Will, In Fact, Be Televised…With Radio Simulcast…And An App

In 2016, the revolution is so far along already that you can watch it on “television” every single day. You can listen to it via “radio”. And, as (almost) always, there’s an app for that. You can read about the revolution on whatever digital doohickey your read news on instead of an old school newspaper.

The most amazing development to appear already in the new year comes from print. Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes is telling his next story, “Belgravia”, in serialized novel form…via an app. With the change in medium from printed page to digital app, “readers” will get a different experience, including audio, music, video, character portraits (including a character family tree) and maps of Belgravia.

For fans, that means they’ll receive a much more complex, and presumably engrossing, product than would come with a printed book. Do you realize what this means for professionals? It means jobs.

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