The Jetsons Future & The Era Of Media Convergence

To see the future of show business – really, of all business – you need to look to the future you’ve already seen. Surely you remember The Jetsons.

George, Jane, Judy, and Elroy had those massive video screens in every room of the house. They watched “television” on them. They made “phone calls” on them. They ordered dinner, did their banking, and pretty much did the majority of their life business via those screens. They even had smaller versions of them in their spacecars, on their wrists, and pretty much everywhere else they looked. How do you think they received the content that they watched on all those screens? Today, we call it broadband Internet, or in our spacecars – er, connected cars – wireless broadband.

We are moving from a world where content is delivered via broadcast to a world where content is delivered via broadband. Luckily, that can be a very good thing for you.

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Harry Truman Knows How Quickly Media Convergence Will Arrive

Change is coming. Distribution of content via broadcast is being replaced by distribution of content via broadband. It’s an era of media convergence, when the barriers between traditional forms of media – television, film, radio, print – fall and we simply have “media”. It’s an era leading to what I like to call The Jetsons Future.

The Jetsons Future is loaded with new and exceptional opportunities, and we’re all going to be presented with lots of opportunities to fail as well as to succeed. Consequently, we’d better be prepared for change before it comes, and changing is coming. If you’re asking the simple one-word question, “When?” the answer is…possibly much faster than you imagine.

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Broadcast Media: 99.5% Less Dead Than You Think

Once upon a time, a doctor told me I had a slightly elevated cholesterol level on my blood test with these lame words: “Mr. Hoffman, we’re all terminal. Some of us are just programmed to check out earlier than others.” Until recently, I’ve only thought of those words when telling someone about what bad people skills sound like.

These days, I think of those words every time I hear another death knell about the future of radio. I’ll leave you to find your favorite screed on that subject; I’ve spent enough time on client calls addressing the issue. (Hence this post.)

Here are two simple realities:

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You Can’t Be A Personality If You Don’t Let Your Fans Know You As A Person

I’d like to tell you a story about the sudden, complete transformation of a performer.

Once upon a time, I programmed a very personality-heavy radio station. While everyone else was shutting up and playing the music, we were aggressively getting in the audience’s faces with lots of personality. We also had record numbers for a radio station that had been around since the Johnson administration and we absolutely owned Men 25-54 in our market. Every talent on the radio station was very high-profile.

Except for my midday guy, who always said, “[My fans] don’t care about me.” He couldn’t have been more wrong, but I didn’t think he’d ever drop his defenses long enough to find out.

One sentence changed everything. Instantly. One day, he turned on the mic and said it.

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You Don't Have To Steal This Book

If you like reading my thoughts on the future of media and entertainment, you’ll also be reasonably fond of the book I’ve written. Better still, you’ve got a few days to get it for free.

Yep, unlike my cousin Abbie Hoffman, who I’m not related to in any way that I’m aware of, you don’t have to steal my book. You can download it for the low, low cost of absolutely nothing through this Sunday, February 21st. (After that, it’s a wallet-draining $2.99, which is the price that Kindle Direct Publishing not-so-subtly suggested I attach to this world-changing tome, and who am I to argue with an algorithm created by Jeff Bezos’ minions?)

The bottom line is that, while I’m certainly looking forward to the tens of dollars that may well come my way thanks to this nifty creation, I’m a lot more interested in having you read what’s inside and, hopefully, pass it on to others as well.

You can find the book at

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You Are 60% Banana: Surprisingly, This Has Ramifications For Your Career

That headline is not a joke. Our DNA is primarily plantain.

Now think about this: y’know that schlub you deeply regret having to work with, the one you have nothing in common with? You two share 99.9% of your DNA. (Don’t worry – you’re also 99.9% genetically similar to all other human beings – including [insert name of your favorite person ever here] – so things could be worse.)

Here’s the point: things are actually a whole lot more alike than they appear. You think you have next to nothing in common with them, but you’re 99.9% the same as the Pope, a Kardashian, a Trump, a Clinton, and that jerk who dinged your car in the parking lot and didn’t leave a note. Let’s pivot to showbiz.

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Storytelling: Do It Well Or Suffer A Smiting

Storytelling matters everywhere in the media – no matter how “serious” your job is. That said, we tend to forget that storytelling is a matter of degrees: there’s a difference between simply relaying an already-interesting story and painting a compelling picture out of interesting ingredients. Here’s an object lesson in that.

Oh, and if you think this is about soccer, you couldn’t be more wrong. Do yourself a favor and read your way to the full payoff.

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Why Advertisers Need To Adapt To The Jetsons Future

The advertising business is finding out what the rest of the media-industrial complex learned long ago: you can’t fight city hall. Or, in Jetsons Future terms, now that content options are somewhere between plentiful and functionally infinite, showbiz is like Burger King: each consumer gets to have it their way.

Here’s more shocking news about advertising: as far as your audience is concerned, it’s like every other form of content. When it’s compelling, an advertiser is golden. When it isn’t, well, there’s always a better viewing/listening/reading option a mere button punch away. And when they’re online, consumers don’t even need to turn away from content they want. They can simply block the offending advertising.

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Making A Lawyer Podcast: Talent Coaching Is A Serial Necessity

Because I have such a unique background – a couple decades leading radio stations and eight years as an attorney – I get asked about podcasting a lot. Here’s a question for you: as a podcaster, how are you going to stand out? In reality, that’s two questions:

First, how is your content going to stand out? Whether you’re talking to other lawyers or to potential clients, what do you have to say that isn’t already being said? Alternatively, how can you cover a well-covered subject in a way that cuts through the clutter, through all the other podcasts out there that may cover the same topic? Second, how are you going to truly reach your audience? Can you communicate your message in a way that will both keep your audience listening and cause listeners to retain your message? Radio programmers know this: it’s a lot tougher than it sounds.

Let’s talk about how much time you’ve devoted to becoming the lawyer you are today:

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Are You Telling ALL The Right Stories?

Are You Telling ALL The Right Stories?

As entertainment professionals, we tell stories all the time. We spend most of our time thinking about the stories we’re going to tell to our fans, to the people who watch, listen to, or read the stories we create. We tend to spend less time thinking about all the stories we tell to our customers (whether that’s advertisers or, say, the producer who might buy our script), our coworkers/coperformers, our friends, and even ourselves.

With that in mind, let’s talk about the value of those other stories. Let’s learn about an independent minor league baseball team (meaning one that can sign whichever players it wants). Bear in mind that sports = entertainment; nothing more, nothing less. That’s why great athletes, with their extremely unique skills, make much the same kind of money that great actors and directors do.

Their story can teach you a lot about all the stories you tell.

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