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:


At 7:26 PM, Blogger Marty said...

Great stuff.


Next time, you guys should come down here for dessert.

Jaxson's Ice Cream. Just a few minutes south of FLL on US1. I bet Jim remembers it; maybe Lee does too. Owner is getting old and it won't be around forever. In the immortal words of Soupy Sales, 'It's so good, it'll make your brains fall out.'

marty m.

At 9:57 AM, Blogger LC said...

wait, what?

That might be some killah weed you're smiokin'

At 8:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


This quote really sticks out:

"Look at it like a movie. XM should sound like a soundtrack to life...not "radio".... there's already radio and it's free."

Perhaps you could put that on a T-Shirt and send it to Steve Kingston. Ethel is an embarrassment.
Shame on XM--especially for continuing to head in an FM direction that has been far from a home run.

Can't wait for the Lee Abrams tell-all. The Steve Kingston / Ethel chapter should be very interesting.


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