Monday, February 25, 2008



The number one song in New Zealand over the Holidays was one that only Dogs could hear…right—humans couldn’t hear it. Well, it’s certainly a very creative approach to the shrinking CD market.

Big week for Celebrity Crimes Against Humanity:

*Lindsey Lohan posing nude as a modern Marilyn Monroe in New York Magazine. The thing here is that junk culture is SO bankrupt, it again needs to look BACK to create a stir. Let Marilyn rest in peace…

*Sharon Stone is a mouthpiece for American affairs in the Dubai papers. I guess that they see Pop and Junk Culture as being our primary export so she must be credible. Kinda like how 100 years ago they’d want to talk to Henry it's Sharon Stone. That’s a problem though. She’s a fucking MOVIE star…she’s cute…big deal.


*Bullet hits a bullet. Nice to see that he missile intercepted the satellite. Impressive creativity and mastery of technology that went into that one. Some say it’s “horrible” that space is being used like this. Guess what? It’s the high ground. This is just the beginning of military applications in space. I’m glad we are on top of it since we’re getting clobbered in so many other areas that involve tech and creative. Then there are the conspiracies---It didn’t really happen. Get a life. It happened..OK? Interesting to see how many though it was going to fail. “Oh, the government…they’ll screw it up”. 180 degrees from the macho we can do anything Captain America attitude of the 50’s. I think we have a confidence problem.

*My Fair Lady. Heard that the other day. It’s really good in a British kinda way. Not a big Showtunes guy, but I like that one. Not sure why I mentioned his, but I can’t get some of those Verrrrrrrrry British songs out of my head.

*Geldof praises George Bush for his efforts in Africa. I commend Sir Bob for that. Refreshing in that you’d expect him to say “Screw Bush” but he gave credit where credit is due. Of course the media, except for Fox, underplayed and under reported it because Bush isn’t fashionable. More interested in Lindsey Lohan I guess.

*A major new network (hint: It wasn't Fox) spends about an hour covering an “emergency”. It was absolutely ridiculous. There was no emergency. An American Airlines MD 80 had a landing gear door stuck and diverted to Miami. Routine, but they treated it like some huge disaster in the making. The misinformation, “Oh my God” timbre of the newscasters and sheer misinformation was frightening. A dis-service. Horrible sensationalism. Finally they had an American Airlines Captain on the line who said “Nothing against your network, but this really is no big deal”…of course the plane landed without incident, though it was covered with the ferocity of a major disaster. Junk culture personified. The payoff was that it was a big nothing.

There are times I get bummed out by the state of our culture and the LACK of the ultra powerful media doing anything about it. I’m not talking the shut down of the mainstream…but INVENTION. Stimulation. I always like to borrow from some great thinkers….a reminder that inspiration is timeless…and can be cool again:

"There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things."
— Niccolo MachiavelliThe Prince (1532)
"The rate of change is not going to slow down anytime soon. If anything, competition in most industries will probably speed up even more in the next few decades."
— John P. KotterLeading Change
"Whosoever desires constant success must change his conduct with the times."
— Niccolo Machiavelli
"People don't resist change. They resist being changed!"
— Peter Senge

"It is a bad plan that admits of no modification."
— Publilius SyrusFirst Century BC
"The most successful businessman is the man who holds onto the old just as long as it is good, and grabs the new just as soon as it is better."
— Robert P. Vanderpoel

"Every generation needs a new revolution."
— Thomas Jefferson

"Change is the law of life and those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future."
—John F. Kennedy
"He that will not apply new remedies must expect new evils; for time is the greatest innovator.

"Capital isn't so important in business. Experience isn't so important. You can get both these things. What is important is ideas. If you have ideas, you have the main asset you need, and there isn't any limit to what you can do with your business and your life."
— Harvey Firestone
"Great is the human who has not lost his childlike heart."
— Mencius (Meng-Tse), 4th century BCE
"Doing the same thing over and over, yet expecting different results, is the definition of crazy."
— Unknown
M. A. Rosanoff: "Mr. Edison, please tell me what laboratory rules you want me to observe."Edison: "There ain't no rules around here. We're trying to accomplish somep'n!"
— Thomas Edison
"Creativity, as has been said, consists largely of rearranging what we know in order to find out what we do not know. Hence, to think creatively, we must be able to look afresh at what we normally take for granted."
— George Kneller
"It isn't the incompetent who destroy an organization. The incompetent never get in a position to destroy it. It is those who achieved something and want to rest upon their achievements who are forever clogging things up."
— F. M. Young
"It's easy to come up with new ideas; the hard part is letting go of what worked for you two years ago, but will soon be out of date."
— Roger von Oech
"We all operate in two contrasting modes, which might be called open and closed. The open mode is more relaxed, more receptive, more exploratory, more democratic, more playful and more humorous. The closed mode is the tighter, more rigid, more hierarchical, more tunnel-visioned. Most people, unfortunately spend most of their time in the closed mode. Not that the closed mode cannot be helpful. If you are leaping a ravine, the moment of takeoff is a bad time for considering alternative strategies. When you charge the enemy machine-gun post, don't waste energy trying to see the funny side of it. Do it in the "closed" mode. But the moment the action is over, try to return to the "open" mode—to open your mind again to all the feedback from our action that enables us to tell whether the action has been successful, or whether further action is need to improve on what we have done. In other words, we must return to the open mode, because in that mode we are the most aware, most receptive, most creative, and therefore at our most intelligent."
— John Cleese
"The best way to have a good idea is to have a lot of ideas."
— Dr. Linus Pauling
"Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought."
— Albert von Szent-Gyorgy
"To raise new questions, new possibilities, to regard old problems from a new angle, requires creative imagination and marks real advance in science."
— Albert Einstein
Without the playing with fantasy no creative work has ever yet come to birth. The debt we owe to the play of imagination is incalculable."
— Carl Jung
"When Alexander the Great visited Diogenes and asked whether he could do anything for the famed teacher, Diogenes replied: “Only stand out of my light.” Perhaps some day we shall know how to heighten creativity. Until then, one of the best things we can do for creative men and women is to stand out of their light."
— John W. Gardner
"To be creative you have to contribute something different from what you've done before. Your results need not be original to the world; few results truly meet that criterion. In fact, most results are built on the work of others."
— Lynne C. LevesqueBreakthrough Creativity
"We shall not cease from exploration, and at the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time."
— T. S. Eliot
"Once we rid ourselves of traditional thinking we can get on with creating the future."
— James Bertrand
"There's a way to do it better—find it."
— Thomas Edison
"The essential part of creativity is not being afraid to fail."
— Edwin H. Land
"Creative activity could be described as a type of learning process where teacher and pupil are located in the same individual."
— Arthur Koestler
"There is no doubt that creativity is the most important human resource of all. Without creativity, there would be no progress, and we would be forever repeating the same patterns."
— Edward de Bono
"Creativity is not the finding of a thing, but the making something out of it after it is found."
— James Russell Lowell (1819-1891)
"The things we fear most in organizations—fluctuations, disturbances, imbalances—re the primary sources of creativity."
— Margaret J. Wheatley

"The achievement of excellence can only occur if the organization promotes a culture of creative dissatisfaction."
— Lawrence Miller
"When the 'weaker' of the two brains (right and left) is stimulated and encouraged to work in cooperation with the stronger side, the end result is a great increase in overall ability and ... often five to ten times more effectiveness."
— Professor Robert Ornstein, University of California

The way to get good ideas is to get lots of ideas and throw the bad ones away."
— Linus Pauling
"To have a great idea, have a lot of them."
— Thomas Edison
"Companies have to nurture [creativity and motivation]—and have to do it by building a compassionate yet performance-driven corporate culture. In the knowledge economy the traditional soft people side of our business has become the new hard side."
— Gay MitchellExecutive VP, HR, Royal Bank
"That so few now dare to be eccentric marks the chief danger of our time."
— John Stuart Mill
“Creative thinking is not a talent, it is a skill that can be learnt. It empowers people by adding strength to their natural abilities which improves teamwork, productivity and where appropriate profits.”
— Edward de Bono
"Anyone can look for fashion in a boutique or history in a museum. The creative explorer looks for history in a hardware store and fashion in an airport."
— Robert Wieder

"Discoveries are often made by not following instructions, by going off the main road, by trying the untried."
— Frank Tyger
"Every act of creation is first of all an act of destruction."
— Picasso
"If you do not the expect the unexpected you will not find it, for it is not to be reached by search or trail."
— Heraclitus
"The organizations of the future will increasingly depend on the creativity of their members to survive. Great Groups offer a new model in which the leader is an equal among Titans. In a truly creative collaboration, work is pleasure, and the only rules and procedures are those that advance the common cause."
— Warren Bennis

"Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats."
— Howard Aiken
"Some men look at things the way they are and ask why? I dream of things that are not and ask why not?"
— Robert Kennedy
"In every work of genius, we recognize our once rejected thoughts."
— Ralph Waldo Emerson
"The human body has two ends on it: one to create with and one to sit on. Sometimes people get their ends reversed. When this happens they need a kick in the seat of the pants."
— Roger von Oech
"Creativity is thinking up new things. Innovation is doing new things."
— Theodore Levitt
"Innovation is the process of turning ideas into manufacturable and marketable form."
— Watts Humprey
"The innovation point is the pivotal moment when talented and motivated people seek the opportunity to act on their ideas and dreams."
— W. Arthur Porter

"Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life's coming attractions"
— Albert Einstein
"I roamed the countryside searching for the answers to things I did not understand. Why shells existed on the tops of mountains along with the imprints of coral and plant and seaweed usually found in the sea. Why the thunder lasts a longer time than that which causes it and why immediately on its creation the lightening becomes visible to the eye while thunder requires time to travel. How the various circles of water form around the spot which has been struck by a stone and why a bird sustains itself in the air. These questions and other strange phenomena engaged my thought throughout my life."
— Leonardo da Vinci
"Slaying sacred cows makes great steaks."
— Dick Nicolose
"In the modern world of business it is useless to be a creative original thinker unless you can also sell what you create. Management cannot be expected to recognize a good idea unless it is presented to them by a good salesman."
— David M. Ogilvy

"A person might be able to play without being creative, but he sure can't be creative without playing."
— Kurt Hanks and Jay Parry

"[I]in 1913, the first assembly line was implemented at Ford Motor Company. The process grew like a vine and eventually spread to all phases of the manufacture of Ford cars, and then through the entire world of heavy industry. There can be no doubt that a powerful revolution occurred at Highland Park—but it was not the assembly line itself that provided the power. Rather, it was the creation of an atmosphere in which improvement was the real product: a better, cheaper, Model T followed naturally. Every man on the payroll was invited to contribute ideas, and the good ones were implemented without delay."
— Douglas BrinkleyWheels for the World: Henry Ford, His Company, and A Century of Progress
"Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties."
— Erich Fromm
"It's the same each time with progress. First they ignore you, then they say you're mad, then dangerous, then there's a pause and then you can't find anyone who disagrees with you."
— Tony BennBritish politician, in the Observer
"The world is but a canvas to our imaginations."
— Henry David Thoreau
"Creativity can solve almost any problem. The creative act, the defeat of habit by originality, overcomes everything."
— George Lois
"If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original."
— Sir Ken Robinson

Tuesday, February 19, 2008



Bill Hutton is a very inventive guy here at XM. He's an Audio Andy Kaufman. He had an idea for a live "request show" for Saturday nights on our LUCY channel. OK fine. A few days ago he asked if I'd listen to a tape with him. He was fearful no-one would "get" his show. So...we listened. Wow! This show is COMPLETELY whacked. It makes NO sense...which is why it's great. It really represents the kind of show a person would do if they never owned or even heard a radio before which is the way I wish EVERYone would think. It's truly a "show" and not a 'shift'. It's not that it's revolutionary or a "sure ratings hit" (it might even be a disaster)'s just refreshingly out there and different. If everyone in the radio business had his "no fear/no baggage" approach, radio as a medium would be electric with invention and promise. It's not the kind of show you'd tape and play to someone as an's just him. And---He USES SOUND! What a concept. He doesn't rely on standard “promos and sweepers" or those other relics that supposedly make "good radio", he uses SOUND and not necessarily 'radio sound'. I'm not saying his Saturday show is going to change the won't...but it's a small step in the direction of liberating from the traditional and trying something new. I don't even know if the show will work, but it's different, and he's stepping up to the plate. Might strike out, but you can't hit home runs without stepping into the batters box. I commend him for doing that.

We can make the world a better place through electronic media. I’m not talking about content…I’m talking about how content is presented. I think that XM gets it right a lot of, but not all of the time…terrestrial radio often shoots itself in the foot via adherence to circa 1980, TV ads often get it VERY right, TV stations have the terrestrial radio’s out-of-date problem…and the web hasn’t yet discovered the secrets.

Of course a lot of these secrets may never be discovered if the mindset continues to be marketing voodoo and PowerPoint’s instead of trying to understand the heartbeat of the product and then delivering the goods around that and having a balance of people who "get" that to work in harmony with those that have to navigate the treacherous non creative waters.

I’m talking about stimulating the eye, ear and brain. Forget the actual content itself for a second…I’m referring to what frames it. Eye candy...ear candy and brain candy. Audio and video that stimulates.

..In radio land which SHOULD “own sound”--it doesn't. Usually things like:

*Oldies station production that sounds 2008, not the era...lack of bites from the era...lack of authenticity...

*Slogans or statements that are featherweight and look right in the focus groups, are snappy slogans to clueless "radio" guys

*Clogged and cluttered with so much “stuff” so you couldn't understand the verbal message

* Direction & Vibe Out of sync with the target audience.

*No closing statements.....Sonics left hanging

*Weak "impersonations" and specialty voice work.

*Some of it sounding, frankly, dumb.

*Not using all of the tools available. Over-reliance on certain tools that create a sameness

*Weak...or nonexistant WRITING/SCRIPTING. Even a 5 second bit needs to be written. Soundtrack & Script = Amazing

*Not THINKING deep enough. Details often missing.

Some of the reasons sound is a throwaway include a disconnect between the product and the person creating sound for the product...not being IN THE STUDIO WORKING WITH THE PRODUCER...Great sound and vision doesn’t happen through osmosis. You gotta get in there and teach the Producers every nuance about the format...the they understand it...feel it...see it. Autopilot production will result in autopilot sound. OR- Buying packages. How disconnected can you get when everyone is buying the same package.



And there’s a style of thinking:

You are in a theater......its dark.....your eyes are closed....your senses are nailed with this stunning, chilling sound. You can "feel" the can "see" the sound. That is "Cinematic Sound"......That is the kind of sound that we should be producing. Sound Movies not Ads for Stations. It's a way of thinking...a way of producing.

Another word for it is "pictorial"...creating mind pictures. Anyone can create sound.....the genius is in sound that people can see. The best was Carl Stalling (The Looney Tunes guy). He would create the sound for a cartoon before it’s drawn, from story boards. In many ways, that’s what YOU are doing. The story board is the format outline. You are literally creating the soundtrack for the channel. That's why this stuff is so damn important. Go beyond titillating the ears...go for the (closed) eyes

Do you know who you're producing for? Beyond the research and latest voodoo psychographics. Probably not as most entities are programming in marketing-speak.

Sound and vision is a way to define the POV. POV creates fans. POV appalls non-target joyous to target listeners.

INTELLIGENCE: Smart sells. For some reason there’s this perception that smart means not mass appeal....elite.

Sound and pictures can do that. Where does that piece you created take you? Sound can do that if you let it.

Audio Disneyland: That secret place in the mind that turns sound into've all been there. Aka Whackyland.

Scenes: On America you picture a Cowboy on a horse on the prairie at Sunset...on Fine Tuning, it's a Cathedral in Europe....PRODUCTION creates this.

This isn't airy/fairy's the reality of transporting listeners through sound. Easy? Ah no!

Still tied to earth? Escape! There's a world of sound:

Natural: Thunderstorms

Human: Running...panting....sleeping...crying

Electronic: Phasing, Backwards songs, repeat echo, STEREO panning

Created: Get out your audio brush and paint!

Musical: Bagpipes on A Rock station sounded great! Harps, Oboes, Strings, Ukulele, Banjo,'s all there to use

SFX: Close your eyes. Listen. Office Sounds, Traffic Sounds. Sounds of Life

Media: Old TV, audio archives, TV themes, jingles. Sounds of culture

Crazy: Our Liquid Metal used Square Dance caller calling Metal lyrics is priceless and brilliant.

Use sound....all of it.

...and this use of sound isn't limited to radio. ANY MEDIUM THAT DELIVERS AN AUDIO SIGNAL FOR ENJOYMENT, NEEDS TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF "SOUND"---Why is that so hard to understand?


Big radio voices....why? It's dated. Try foreign accents, real people voices, whacked voices, regional accents etc....
The "Big Radio Voice" is by most accounts dead. Big voices are the radio equivalent of Ted Knight on the old Mary Tyler Moore show.

Without good, succinct writing, a piece can be useless. The line "XMs fine Tuning...adventurous music for a creatively starved planet" is cool...America's (the channel) promo targeting the Steel Worker is wonderful. Writing dramatically, clearly and intelligently is of critical importance. Every piece needs an end point...a reason. It can be as simple as station name, OR it can paint a sound and word picture that colorizes the name.

SHARING: Between us at XM, or any organization, there’s an incredible arsenal of sound. Get in there and share. Share the challenge to discover that "special" sound or vision.

Audio and video Production should be powerful. But powerful does not mean loud. It means gripping...compelling. Anyone can create loud sound....but there's brilliance in creating power and drama subtly. My point: There's a place for loud AND subtle. Pink Floyd are powerful but subtle. When you rock you rock...but when you roll.
Production can be:

IN YOUR FACE--powerful via rhythmic...body shaking
IN YOUR HEAD--powerful via Technicolor, lush, dreamy, sensual

Let’s not forget the POWER OF SILENCE where in your head is as powerful as in your face.

Float Like a Butterfly...Sting like a Bee

Short, medium and long. Mix em up.... There should be flexibility enough to use long pieces, but they need to hold up.

You gotta be able to UNDERSTAND the verbiage, there are cases where there's SO much going on, and the name gets blurred.

Stuff should be so original; stations in Europe will want to license it from you. Original may not have meant much 20 years ago, but its CRITICAL today to cut through.

Now…this is just radio. One day, print, TV and other media will explore the opportunity in exciting the senses. Then again, maybe they won’t. It depends on to what degree people who “get” this are allowed into the club.

Monday, February 11, 2008



Fever & Chills...really sucks. A lot of it going around the office and I got nailed with it Wednesday. Uh oh--my annual cold. First step was going to Bad idea. By the time you are done there, you are convinced that it's NOT a cold, but something far worse...maybe a rare smallpox that masks itself as a cold? Brought on by the Thai Food from the prior weekend? WebMd is is and some of those other sites, BUT--it's imperative you DON'T read too much into those as even the strongest willed mind will collapse to the "Hey...they might have a toe IS bigger...that must mean...oh" So, putting the web aside, I had two options. A) Infect all of XM and do sub-par work as I felt like shit or B) Go home, lay in bed, aircheck my DirecTV and thank god for blackberry, not be too disconnected from my chronic email addiction, now that Cingular put up a new Cell tower near my house. Of course, half the company was at the Grammy’s, so I picked a good day to be out sick since the building was relatively quiet.

TV, as always, was a mixture of education and pain. From a purely personal viewpoint, I found:

TBS & TV Land to be fun. Oldies TV. Ranging from the timeless brilliance of Seinfeld (A Seinfeld Twofer on TBS every night)! to the pop culture schmaltz of the Beverly Hillbillies which was SO blatantly stupid, it was fun...Unlike many of today's shows which are stupid but masquerading as "important".

JUDGE (put name here) shows. I like the smart/dumb balance here. The Judges being smart and practical and the "contestants" (hard to call them things like defendants) incredibly stupid.

INFORMERCIALS. These are frightening. Partially because I end up thinking "Hey--I could use some of that super-duper putty" to 'YOU FOOLS! You aren't going to make 5 million dollars with this sleezebags' book & DVD set!" I wish more channels had "real" programming instead of Infomercials...could be a great incubation area for "interesting" not ready for primetime programs. Call it "the incubator". Probably wouldn't make economic sense...

POLITICAL ADS: OK, WHY, WHY, WHY is EVERY candidate framing their ad with "I'm Citizen Cane and I approve of this ad". WHY? Can't any of these geniuses say it differently? I'll bet if Obama simply said "I'm Obama and the ad is cool by me" it would give him another state or two. Are these people SO focused grouped out that they can't see something as basic as this?

AIRLINE: Southwest Airlines is featured as the bad guy...canceling flights and not allowing drunks to board. More brilliance from the last of the great American Air Carriers. They consistently come off as the good guys. I'll bet the other carriers didn’t want to touch this show with a ten foot wing. I respect Southwest.

HBO; Quality. Sure--some bad movies (most movies ARE bad)...but minute by minute, they set the standard.

ROBERT DI NERO: Quality. A reason I detest celebrity worship in general. You don't see him New Aging out or working the tabloids. He just delivers. A role model.

60 MINUTES: More Quality.

LOCAL TV NEWS: I've addressed this before. It is SO bad it's actually funny. Grab some friends, turn the volume down and make up the dialogue---it's a great game. OR--keep the volume up and play "Count the clichés"....or buy a buzzer and play "Bullshit"--when ever they bullshit you, you hit the buzzer. You can have a lot of fun with Local TV Newscasts...maybe that's how they are programmed? To entertain, and create material for comedy writers. If so--they are doing a great job.

A&E: In our house we call a zone of channels "The smart zone"...Biography, A&E, science Channel types. My only problem is in a recent shift to sensational UFO discovery shows. Yeah, I watch them, but they're skewing just a little too game show for me, but if that helps attract a larger audience---hire Wink Martindale to host the next show about a meteor scheduled to blow up Earth in 2011.

Anyways, I get INSPIRED by all of this...It IS reality and kind of like the state of the government—A huge opportunity to get better. You can kind of see through the creation of the shows--which ones came from focus groups, rip offs of other concepts, play-offs on mass stupidly...and then you can ALSO see the ones that work…and have for a long time...and WHY. More TV programmers need to catch bad colds and aircheck the TV dial.

Went to my Doctor Friday. Diagnosed with an ear and upper respiratory infection (bad cold). Malaria.

Back to bed for TV and cinematic fever dreams that would have inspired Freud & Jung...and impressed Kubrick if I could have taped them...

...just when you are awash in self pity over a bad cold, there’s some very sad news. Greg Gillispie recently worked at XM on Deep Tracks. I also was his consultant when he was a PD at stations like KAZY in Denver and WDVE in Pittsburgh, and he was an associate at Burkhart/Abrams back in the 80's.

Media Consultant Mike McVay sent out this note:

Greg Gillispie Needs our help
Well known consultant and longtime programmer Greg Gillispie announces his retirement due to health. Gillispie, a 36 year media veteran, has been diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. Greg has been battling the tumor for more than two years, while working at XM Radio and consulting radio stations on Programming.
Greg programmed radio stations in markets as large as Washington, DC.Denver and Pittsburgh as well as “touched” hundreds of Rock stations in 46 states during his time with Burkhart Abrams, Burkhart Douglas and later as President of the Rock division for McVay Media.
Gillispie is hopeful that with prayer and medical attention he will be able to return to work. He remains positive and is grateful to everyone who has been supportive to him, his wife Cathie and daughter Sara.
This was part of a press release sent out earlier today. Greg Cathie and Sara need our help!!! It’s a terrible thing as to what is going on in our country with healthcare. It’s a scary thought that any one of us could be knocked down with some type of sickness or disease that could wipeout our whole Life savings!!!. Cathie reached out to several old friends, last week, asking for advice and guidance. She told me she reached out to George Cappellini, Lee Abrams, Dave Lonaco and Neil lasher, as well as myself. After brainstorming all weekend, we came up with the idea of presenting a series of fund raisers to help with the hospital bills. Greg cannot get insurance at a reasonable rate because of his condition. Well we are working on that!
But in the meantime we are asking all of our friends and friends of Greg to send Cathie one hundred dollars($100.00) to help with immediate relief. To most of us this nice dinner out on the town. To Greg and Cathie it will help pay for an MRI.
This could happen to any one of us on. Greg isn't your responsibility. He isn't ours. It is however our opportunity to show how much we really care ... and do more than "say nice words." Let's show the Gillispie family that we care ... with action. We ask you to send a check to Cathie, and forward this E-mail on to anyone you think might know Greg and would be willing to help her work through this horrific situation….
Make Check's Payable to Cathie Gillisipe and mail them to her at:
Cathie Gillispie
361 Teague Dr NW
Kennesaw, GA 30152

Monday, February 04, 2008



Looking around media and music, there’s so many negative emotions:



*Backward looking…nostalgic for the old days...or worse: OPERATING as if it were the old days.



Time for re-thinking. A lot of people call wondering about the best course to take to be a DJ or a Program Director. I tell them to consider re-thinking. Unless they have spectacular talent or a new and realistic programming concept, it doesn’t look too good. That’s the reality. In the 60’s, 70’s or 80’s, those were very real career choices, but today, not as much. There are still opportunities for talented people with new ideas---but times have changed from those crazy days a decade or three ago. But -- I continue to think that Information is the new Rock n Roll. And the World needs good creative minds to balance out the technocrats, bureaucrats, fast buck guys and the power point army. It’s a time to be POSITIVE! But positive through “re-think” rather than dwelling on the crumbling of old institutions.

By “Rock n Roll” I mean the innovative spirit that America is ready for, just as they were ready for Rock n Roll in 1955 or so.

There was always music. But it was flat and stagnant in the early 50’s (in the mainstream that is) until Rock n Roll. Real Patti Page stuff that didn’t resonate defined mainstream music. “Rock n Roll thinking can be related to information in these ways…the timing is SO right for Information to take on Rock n Roll thinking.

*Technology facilitated Rock. Transistor radios, hi-fi. Technology facilitates information. Internet. But transistors and Hi-Fi’s would still be playing Doris Day if it wasn’t for the imagination and content of Rock.

*Innovation. Rock was all about a “NEW” sound. One that the Industry veterans didn’t necessarily like. Artists WORKED at creating a new sound that was in sync with the era. Media veterans need to work at that “new look” with the same imagination that Sam Phillips or Buddy Holly had. That’s FUN.

*Rock broke down the great White monopolies. We may have a Black president…time to work at that 1930’s White monopolist image that you see in Big Media these days...

*Newspapers are AM Radio. The AM’s that evolved right are doing just fine. Aren’t the two top billers in Chicago AM? Internet is FM…in about 1966. Still in its infancy.
There’s big opportunity to Evolve AM (newspaper) and INVENT FM (Internet). Then there’s today’s passenger train: The record business…they need to figure out what their freight strategy is… As we’ve learned at XM---Re-inventing is the fun part.

* Often old media like Newspapers have everything in place for evolution: Distribution, infrastructure, newsgathering mechanism. The problem is in living in the past and attitude. It’s all there—just needs to think like RCA Records did in ’55: Embrace Rock n Roll. Columbia under Mitch Miller didn’t. Took them 12 years to recover. MGM records NEVER did…and they died. I’d say the same thing about terrestrial radio…why does old media shoot itself in the foot when they have EVERYTHING in place?

*Rock threw out the playbook. 1954: “You have to have strings on it to be a mainstream hit”…I’ll bet there are hundreds of these clichés in the media business…EVERY business.

*Rock looked forward. It was about the next new thing…new sound…new look…new angle. Media people need that same FORWARD thinking. Hard sometimes when the pressure for immediate performance is mandated, but it’s still necessary.

*Rock moved fast. Band signed on Monday…released on Friday…#1 on Monday. Analyzing is good—OVER analyzing is a disease.

*Rock shocked…without trying…it just DID because it was SO fresh, it was shocking.

*It was quality driven. Of course there was short term crap, but the content created by people who had long term careers were quality conscious.

I have to believe that SO much of the thinking is focused on dwelling over the problems…and not enough on creating buzz…innovating in ways that Joe Public sees…Information IS the new Rock n Roll, but we need to create the records. Maybe it takes something as bold and non traditional as this theme to cut through the negativity and doubt.

Easy for me to say all this…but the more people that grasp this idea, the better off we’ll all be. It’s a WAY of thinking.

It was nice to see Obama & Hillary being nice to each other at the last debate. Such a simple concept. I really worry about most politicians…

Then there was the CNN presentation of the debates. If they threw in Tom Petty and a few football players, the Super bowl would have some competition.

Click this video for the truth about our election:

Here’s a blurb from Newsweek about a coming trend---REAL PEOPLE. I think the Media gets New York & LA Fever figuring everyone looks up to these fashion capitals. Not exactly. Most people, except the terminally junked, look at the high fashion look as plain goofy. In TV, those News people are so…plastic. No wonder local TV news is often a clichéd and dated routine. I see a trend toward REAL people. Not ugly…not cute…those two things are irrelevant. It’s all about CHARACTER. Junk Culture is fed by this transparent “Red Carpet Look”…and it’s inevitable that will fade in today’s environment where you have too many sources to help you see through that garbage. I commend 60 Minutes. They hardly have “lookers”…but they’re been around for 5 decades and remain a powerhouse…Read on:

Fashion-industry folks say the trend of using real people to sell clothes attests to a fatigue with skinny, expressionless models in ads and on runways. As proof, they point to the negative publicity surrounding the painfully thin models at last spring's Fashion Week. "I definitely think there's some backlash amongst people who see fashion shows, then read stories about how the models have to smoke themselves to death and only drink lemon water for six weeks," says Simon Rogers, head of Ugly New York, a casting agency for "real"-looking models. "People would like to see somebody up there who reflects how people on the street really look." (The TV show "Ugly Betty" echoed this sentiment in a recent episode where Betty staged an "alternative" fashion show with nonprofessional models.) Now, with New York's Fall 2008 Fashion Week arriving this week, fashion watchers say we may begin to see subtle indications of the trend on the runway: the models will still be thin and gorgeous, but they may look more like thin, gorgeous versions of real people than like stereotypical models. "In the '80s and '90s, models were expected to look glamorous and clean, like Niki Taylor and Christy Turlington," says Faran Krentcil, former editor of Fashionista. "Now people want girls wearing concert T shirts and jeans they've patched themselves—girls who have an appeal that goes beyond how pretty they are." In other words, the demand is for models who exude personal style, whether they're wearing their own ratty duds or haute couture.

Now for the entertainment section---Jim McBean, one of our production aces joined me for a flight to New Haven. He video’s the thing and made this rather amusing short vide: