RANDOM THOUGHTS, CLIPPINGS, EARLY XM AND SEXISM AT CBS!
RANDOM THOUGHTS, CLIPPINGS, EARLY XM AND SEXISM AT CBS!
Bill Black is one of our Audio Animators at XM. If you ever visit, he’s hard to miss. He has a NATURALLY booming voice, and wears America’s largest collection of Negro League Baseball jerseys… he either wrote or found this:
A Japanese company and an American company decided to have a canoe
race on the Missouri River .
Both teams practiced long and hard to reach their peak performance before the race.
On the big day, the Japanese won by a mile.
The Americans, very discouraged and depressed, decided to investigate the reason for the crushing
defeat. A management team made up of senior management was formed to investigate and recommend
appropriate action. Their conclusion was the Japanese had 8 people rowing and 1 person steering,
while the American team had 8 people steering and 1 person rowing. Feeling a deeper study was in order,
American management hired a consulting company costing a large amount of money for a second opinion.
They advised, of course, that too many people were steering the boat, while not enough people were rowing. Not sure of how to utilize that information, but wanting to prevent another loss to the Japanese, the rowing
team's management structure was totally reorganized to 4 steering supervisors, 3 area steering superintendents
and 1 assistant superintendent steering manager.
They also implemented a new performance system that would give the 1 person rowing the boat greater incentive to work harder.
It was called the 'Rowing Team Quality First Program,' with meetings, dinners and free pens for the rower.
There was discussion of getting new paddles, and other equipment, extra vacation days for practices and bonuses.
The next year the Japanese won by two miles.
Humiliated, the American management laid off the rower for poor performance, halted development of a new canoe,sold the paddles, and canceled all capital investments for new equipment. The money saved was distributed to the Senior Executives as bonuses and the next year's racing team was out-sourced to India
...kind of funny, interesting and scary all at once. Reminds me of a recent discussion with Randy Michaels, newly minted TV mogul. Upon taking over the New York Times TV group, he said the leading question from employees was "what will the new policy manual look like"... Huh? think about it: An entertainment company...new owner...and they're worried about a policy manual?
…some of our most inventive people here are our Audio Animators. Formerly called production directors—but they are infinitely more than that. They are…audio animators. Drew Kennedy, Pants, Larry Whitt, Matt Wolfe, Jim Mc Bean, Aaron Lee, Rashad Smith, Ben Krech, Jim Sharifi, Bill “Lucy PD” Hutton, Rob Aneiva, and ALL the others (I figured I stop here name wise because I was bound to forget Someone and I don’t want to because they’re ALL good). I’d stack these guys against any---anywhere in the World. Absolutely THE BEST team of audio guys on the planet. Whenever anything lame gets on the air—and it’s bound to happen with almost 200 channels, it’s not these guys fault. They’ve salvaged some real crap.
Paris Hilton has found God and has decided to “stop being dumb”. Fascinating development. Actually, it’s predictable that the ‘dumb celebrity’ thing is ebbing. It’s funny and light for awhile—then hits the “enough already” phase. I doubt if we’ll start seeing Steven Hawking on the cover of US or PEOPLE, but stupidity as celebrity aka Tabloid crossover has reached the point of diminishing returns.
Leo G—who runs RAW, our uncensored Hip Hop Channel had a birthday. 3000 people showed up. Not bad. I was in New York and missed it, but he sent around this note to the group:
I want to send a very sincere thank you to all those that joined in and were apart of my birthday celebration last night at Love in DC. I can say with modest honesty that it was by far one of the most celebrated born days I've ever had in my life. From the artist community, NBA players that were present, media, the well over 3000 inside the venue (some having driven as far as Texas to be there) and everyone working/behind the scenes to make this such a stellar event! Mz Kitti I cannot begin to express how proud I am of the tremendous job and responsibility you executed flawlessly! I am so very humbled by the love that was shown last night. I know this stretches well outside programming, so please on my behalf forward onto everyone you know outside of programming that shared in such a special evening. I am so very grateful. Thank you all once again so very much!!
Now that is a “FAN” thing.
One of our guys who used to work here WAY back in June of 1998 sent me this—it was the first thing I sent around to give my POV on this yet-to happen thing. Early early on. Before we were actually called XM, we had a very small and often amusingly dysfunctional staff. Robert Acker an MIT trained engineer was overseeing marketing, I had to answer technical questions—thank God we soon hired Tony Masiello from CBS who actually KNEW what he was talking about, and Hugh and Gary were on the road finding money, so I shot around my POV on where I thought we might go. I didn’t have much else to do since there was NO programming staff yet :
"Clickability of Radio" (when DARS vs. Internet question is posed. Radio is a click away while the Internet takes some work). Selling Digital radio as “radio” instead of an esoteric ‘device’ that is complicated to work. There are people who think email is “hard”---no need to confuse with another ‘hard’ device.
"We're the best thing for music since the transistor" (The transistor radio was a key factor in the growth of the music industry in the 50's...Now you could hear hits on the beach)
"New radio for the new mainstream" (a general line about the "new" generation of media consumers)
"The 'er' factor (Bigg-er, clear-er, great-er, loud-er)
"Eccentric...all the way to the bank" (on why our programming will be a bit warped compared to conservative programming on terrestrial)
"24 hour Morning Show" (A comeback to the 'what about morning drive' question since we cover 4 time zones) we don’t turn it on for mornings…then go into autopilot after 10am
"People who get "it", the "it" factor (the kinds of PD & DJs we want to hire). Has nothing to do with their track record as much as “it”.
"Music/Character/Muscle" aka The Big 3: (A quick definition of what the programming will be like : Music passion & purity Character...not robotic or bland Muscle...National and proud of it)
"Mood and Reliable" (defines kinds of listening. You listen when you're in the mood for something (AMRC will have the depth to fill all moods) and Reliable....we have reliable channels that deliver the basic format services that people reliable listen to like News in the morning)
"100 one-share Stations": ( In reference to some of our super-niche formats. If every format gets a one share.......)
"We're a shopping mall": Lots of stores. Anchor stores (formats) like Country and specialty shops like Reggae. Cross promotion keeps listeners in the mall.
Terrestrial is a strip center....good stores, but we're bigger, one-stop for all your (listening) needs, hipper (people don’t hang out at strip centers), etc....AM is a mom & pop store...FM is a strip center....We will be Mall of America. We’ll have the specialty stores (Jazz); The anchor stores (mainstream) and the food court (CHR)…
"The AM FM AMRC evolution"... (Self explanatory) NOTE: WE WERE STILL AMERICAN MOBILE RADIO CORP—PRE “XM”
"Creating change rather than marketing change" (plays on terrestrials habit of discovering a problem instead of correcting it, they'll promote how they've fixed the problem as in 'Now on K-106...more variety!'...in reality they didn't adjust the playlist...they're simply 'tricking' listeners.
"Radio's vulnerability is in the playbook" (There are no surprises, everyone from Joe Public to the competition knows radio's playbook, leaving it open to attack from anyone with the guts, money and the signal.)
"If cartoons have evolved at the same rate as radio, we’d be watching Tom & Jerry instead of the Simpsons”
“Audio Service”? (Drives me nuts when Satellite Radio is called an “audio service”…god I hope it’s more than that)!
“Smart Radio: position ourselves as intelligent…and smart”. Unfashionable maybe, but smart lasts. Dumb is good for six months.
“Take risks”: We ARE in a risky business…a bad time to be conservative.
“If people are going to pay for this thing it BETTER be good…and different”. Can’t lie about it…gotta actually promise it…and over deliver on it
"The enough-already factor: (A reaction to radio's over-reliance on research & tight play lists, as in Q: "Do you like the song Free Bird? A: Yes...great song Q: Do you want to hear it again on the radio? A: NO! Enough already! In fact, we should ban the word playlist…and think in terms of library.
With no ratings to worry about we should look at every age group as equal. Who knows, our biggest early appeal might be to the older folks who remember what radio CAN be like…especially if we make Satellite Radio EASY these luddides.
We need to learn from the mistakes FM made. Over data’d, eye off the street, too wrapped up in the plan to execute it. Over thinking. I’ll prepare a more comprehensive list…
"It's the Golden Age of Talk radio...and the Dark Ages of Music radio": (the cutting edge, the excitement, the fun is in Talk Radio.....not music radio.....It's historically the other way around).
…I think we’ve done a pretty good job---but it’s always good to take a look at the early plan. A lot evolves and changes…but some things don’t.
…Bob Dylan’s show continues to amaze. Here’s a link to a story NPR did on the show that says it all about the experience of listening to Bob:
….and then there’s this from the genius at CBS who let Stern get away and fired Imus:
Article: CBS blames sexism for bad ratings
Leslie Moonves, CBS chief executive, on Tuesday suggested that sexist attitudes were partly to blame for the faltering performance of Katie Couric, the news anchor he recruited to the network with a $15m annual pay package.
“I’m sort of surprised by the vitriol against her. The number of people who don’t want news from a woman was startling,” Mr Moonves said of the audience’s reaction to Ms Couric, who this month brought ratings for the CBS Evening News to a 20-year low".
Sexism???!!! There seem to be a lot of Women running Countries, in political office, on TV doing quite well…and we may even have a Woman President. Give me a fucking break. Katie is poster girl for Junk Culture….and Junk Culture will be the unraveling of….everything.
Maybe they should hire Paris when she gets out of the joint. 15 million should cover it.