Friday, September 07, 2007

RANDOM STUFF FROM THE ELECTRONIC WATERCOOLER

RANDOM STUFF FROM THE ELECTRONIC WATERCOOLER

Held a "bootcamp" with about 50 members of our ever expanding marketing department. They’re a busy group. Most of the people I spoke to in our two hour session are relatively new here. The idea was to give them the creative Kool Aid so they could drink it. as XM gets bigger it's easier to forget the core values aka the soul of the thing, as everyone is focused on growing the subs. It's easier to grow if you know about the seed I reckon. My boot camps are definitely not traditional...probably a little scary for some, but I think that's why they are effective. No slides (well--one), but an evangelical presentation that’s all about the passion and the WHY we need to approach and execute things a certain way...and putting it all in historical, current and future terms.Making this thing go isn't a job...it's a mission. Understanding the psyche of North Americans and translating that into action...a deeper more intellectual approach to delivering the creative goods to a quality starved population. I find that taking a deep breath and looking at what we do and how we do it--certainly from a look, feel, smell-creative side-- and how important it is, can help motivate people to higher personal levels of excellence and achievement...that all gets clouded sometimes when things are moving so fast…and things are moving fast. If the bootcamp helped motivate even ONE person to go the extra mile---it was a success.

A friend of mine, Jim Citrin, is a powerful Executive Recruiter...sort of a Beatle in the world of big time recruiters. If America dropped the electoral system and used a guy to recruit a new President—He’s be the guy. He’s written several extremely successful books that are maps-to-greatness driven and motivational in nature—but very real world and with zero BS. He has an incredible touch for understanding what drives successful people. His new one is really outstanding. It's called The Dynamic Path. Definitely worth checking into. It has interviews with everyone from Moon Man (and one GREAT pilot) Buzz Aldrin to Terry Bradshaw talking about leadership. Inspirational stuff. His other books are great, but this one takes his approach to a new level. Jim is a huge LOFT fan FYI...Check his book at <http://www.thedynamicpath.com

Speaking of Buzz Aldrin, I’m kind of worried about NASA. One astronaut had an attempted murder rap, and recently there were reports of astronauts getting tanked before flights. In internal NASA report cleared them (duh), but makes you wonder. They need to watch The Right Stuff a few times. Bad time to have shaky space pilots considering that other Nations are taking Space pretty seriously. Intriguing Space stuff on Discovery and History channels lately. A lot about how the Universe is going to rip apart and all matter will disintegrate. They call it The Big Rip. We have about 50 billion years though, so we're cool for now...of course unless a rogue black hole sucks us into infinity. I gotta stop watching that stuff...

As we launch the "new season" of Bob Dylan theme Time Radio Hour shows, Anne Taylor Adams of our PR group had the idea to create a poster to celebrate the show. No one objected. Great idea. So Bob's guys brought in Coco Shinomaya and Jaime Hernandez and they created a poster that is absolutely spectacular. Only an accomplished Underground Comix kinda guy could have created this. Perfectly captures the romance and mystery of the show in a way that is seamy, steamy and real. No slick stuff over branded stuff here. Where’s Waldo meets the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers. Real subtle...real heady...for what the show is all about--It’s perfect. Got an underground feel. I'll post it here soon.

Me, Jesus Salas, DJ Leony and Richard Nivar from our Latin group hopped in my plane for a trip to NYC to record Daddy Yankee doing Artist Confidential. Interesting signing. Jesus had to translate the negotiations as Daddy's crew often spoke only Spanish. The flight was also interesting as I suggested that if the three were yapping in Spanish and I had no clue what they were talking about, they better be nice as certain aerobatic maneuvers were always a possibility.

Daddy Yankee was amazing. The event was more like a Latin festival than a taping. People yelling and dancing. Had some drunken guy that Daddy’s bouncers had to eject. The guy is amazing… a real artist. Love Daddy Yankee's website. It'll drive you nuts because it's SO intense, but the sound a visual quality and animation is so frantic...it's exciting. The thing I like about it is that it MOVES...it's an experience. I’ve passed it along to some people as an example of how sites can be exciting.
I gained a new respect for Daddy Yankee and the movement he’s spearheaded after seeing him in action. No 200 person posse…no elite thing…just a straight ahead modern Caribbean hip hop vibe that explodes with energy.

Labor Day Car-B-Q was another whacked three day channel we had over Labor Day weekend. Lou Brutus put the music together. Car songs. Maybe we should have called it a "No trains" weekend. Sorta fits into that FM "No (put annoying music style here)" weekends. Never understood the "no" thing. Adult Contemporary stations used to brag about "No rap or Metal". Well, seems kind of obvious. Though I guess when something is SO average, it’s hard to find accolades to link to your mission.

I gotta tellya, our content is really hitting stride…coming up:

Austin City Limits Sat. (9/15) & Sun. (9/16) – XMX (XM 2) & XMU (XM 43)
Hispanic Heritage Month Begins Sat. (9/15)- Specials on XM’s Latin Channels (XM 90 – 94)
Stand Up and Sit Down with Lewis Black (XL)- XM Comedy (XM 150)
Artist Confidential: Smashing Pumpkins- Ethel (XM 47)
Harlem Features The Story of Etta James- 50s (XM 5) --- MATT THE CATT ROCKS!
Release Day Rest Stop with Kenny Chesney- Highway 16 (XM 16)
The King Biscuit Flower Hour: Aerosmith- Deep Tracks (XM 40) --- TMELESS
Live from the Toronto International Film Festival- Cinemagic (XM 27)
A Conversation Between Old Friends George Jones & Bill Mack- America (XM 10) ---AMAZING
LiVE @ The Verge with The Russian Futurists- The Verge (XM 52)
Toto Channel Take Over- 80s (XM 8)
Patty Griffin on The Village (XM 15)

..And that’s just in one week. Unfortunately the challenge of making people AWARE is tough. Working on it. XMX Channel two REALLY helps!


Along the lines of meaning nothing, if there's ANYone who hasn't seen Miss Teen South Carolina's gaffe--definitely worth a look on YouTube. Better yet is the written transcription of her response that MSNBC has on their site. It's SO bizarre. I'm impressed she kept a nice smile during a complete and massive brain freeze. Now of course, she's a celebrity. This video DEFINES “junk culture”. Two Youtube musical favorites: Genesis-Fountain of Salamcis featuring a very young Peter Gabriel and Howlin Wolf doing Shake Me. Both incredible.

An interesting (long) article from the New York Times about how Rick Rubin is being brought in. Check the New York Times site if you haven’t read it. Good gig—probably makes a ton and doesn’t have to show up for work, though I can’t see how a guy who I assume views himself as a star can actually change anything long term at a giant like Sony—without getting INTO the trenches 24/7—DIVING INTO THE FRONT LINE, and putting an imprint on the soul of the place. Then again--Nice to see that a music guy is being brought into a music company. What a concept. Hope he doesn’t get smothered and can actually make some noise. If he doesn’t he’ll agree to exit terms and walk with 50 million. Good gig indeed. Interesting read.

Marlin Taylor one of our ace programmers celebrated his 71st Birthday. I wish all programmers half his age had the wisdom, passion, attitude and energy he has.

7 Comments:

At 7:17 AM, Blogger David Bianculli said...

Long overdue salute -- just a quick note to acknowledge how well you're doing. I love the design and scope of your blog (I grew up in South Florida, and you had me at your mention of Rick Shaw), and Dylan's Theme Time really is the best radio show I've ever heard in my life, bar none -- and I'm old.
Oh, and as a TV critic, I love your occasional asides into that area, too. Keep up the great work.

 
At 9:07 AM, Blogger TOR Hershman said...

Yeah, Lee, I'm thinkin' 'bout doin' a Mr. Dylan "Theme Time" bit 'o' parody art. I just finished one of "Bringing It All Back Home" (Starring It of the Addams Family TOS).

Stay on Groovin' Safari,
Tor

 
At 10:34 PM, Anonymous Robb said...

I recently came back after leaving. When the service first started I was one of the bleeding edge people who forked out the dough for the satellite e clarity and the commercial free aspect. My biggest disappointment since coming back is how many more channels other than talk carry ad's. It seems the joy of the music is being killed with the same junk on terrestrial radio. I left the other service because of dippy dj's and other things I can only hope this also doesn't happen at XM

 
At 12:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

welcome back robb--

There is still a lot a great programming on XM, but the "FM Think" has definitely crept into the philosophy of XM on mnay channels.

It's just sad when a true vision is established, and then undercut by certain FM kool aid drinkers who are just chock full of old FM ideas--Check out Ethel--you'll see what I mean just from their channel imaging--fart noises etc.

 
At 8:24 PM, Blogger Kirsten said...

Random Stuff from the WiFi Coffee Shop:

It sure would be nice if the XMRadio on-line player worked properly on my iBook in Safari instead of telling me it can't display content and then trying and failing to play in Windows Media Player. I suggest a deeper, more intellectual approach to delivering the technical to your natural audience- renegade, outside-the-box non-Microsoft users.

Sincerely,

Kirsten

P.S. If you would like to interview me for a position in your marketing department, please come pick me up in your plane. I would like to be interview in the XM 50 studio. Preferably immediately before a Luka Bloom Loft Session.

 
At 10:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Robb:

The commercials are on the music channels owned and programmed by one of XM's original investors, Clear Channel. Clear Channel won the right to sell advertising on its music channels in arbitration. Billions can buy you sharper lawyers than millions can, I suppose.

 
At 7:02 PM, Anonymous test equipment said...

Once again a good read on your blog. You never seem to fail and always give us a good read.

Keep up the good work!

 

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