We Don’t Know Jack

When I first told my students about the "Jack" format as it first debuted in LA several years ago, their reactions are worth recalling even today. I say this because since I have been at USC I have come to closely value the rather direct reactions of this generation on things ranging from new mobile media devices to old approaches to radio formats. Nonetheless at the time they were troubled by the "Jack" format motto, "We Play What We Want". One young student told his fellow classmates, "yeah, we play what we want, too -- it's called an iPod". All this time has passed since CBS reinvented the wheel and the "Jack" format one assumes&hellip

Zune — A Turkey

I knew it. My students knew it. How did Microsoft not know it. The new competitor to iPod from the folks at Microsoft -- Zune -- was a turkey even before Thanksgiving. The Wall Street Journal just reported that Zune sales are not meeting expectations ramping up to the holiday season. As we used to say back in South Philly, "who don't know that?" It's clunky, rather ugly, not better than an iPod, not cheaper and not...not...not an iPod. I always used to think when Proctor & Gamble launched a new product with all their market research, how could it not be a home run? They have many home runs, but not always. So the Zune will&hellip

How Radio Is Like Satellite Radio

What happens when you dominate a market, offer the majority of your programming to an audience you don't have and then fail to deliver young listeners? You have satellite radio! Wait. Increasingly, you also have terrestrial radio. It's a losing formula in a time of great change that is begging for a remedy. Satellite radio operators have hit the wall as witnessed by unusually slow sales at their traditional busy time of the year (Christmas). They've done an excellent job in finding their market -- the pay subscription market -- but there's not enough consumers willing to subscribe. Satellite programs some excellent channels for&hellip

Interactive Media Envy

Traditional media companies are falling all over themselves to do content deals with their new media rivals -- Internet and mobile companies. NBC Universal did a deal to allow AT&T to offer their owned stations a chance to be broadcast on AT&T phones -- welcome to some mighty lucrative markets. Google and Yahoo announce deals on an almost regular basis. And even without alliances, traditional media is rushing to find new ways to offer their content digitally. MTV is developing niche broadband channels. HBO is mulling putting their content on broadband. Newspapers ally themselves with Yahoo and hope that the lure of local content&hellip

A Clear Channel Christmas

It's very easy during the lull in the Clear Channel sell-off to think everything is going to alright. But it's not alright for the employees of Clear Channel who are being let go or for the ones having to endure the holiday season wondering if they will be the next to be fired. If consolidation means anything, it means doing more for less. And now that Clear Channel's dynasty Mays family has decided to cash out for about $1 billion and take the radio division private there's still lots of housekeeping to do. Like tidying up the bottom line. This should be no problem to the radio industry leader that cut, combined and consolidated&hellip

Tough Times Ahead for TV

There's a new technology coming your way that deserves watching called Switched Broadcast. It's a technology that expands bandwidth and makes delivering hundreds of television channels to the home unnecessary. Technology enables only one channel at a time to be delivered to subscribers and this could change everything. Providers can then free up bandwidth for more content. Consumers could benefit from more on-demand services, faster delivery, more telephone services. This spells the end of television channels as we known them. Going forward under switched broadcast, channels become unnecessary. The question is will broadcasting&hellip

The Best Way to Kill Texting

Cingular Wireless is trying to bridge the generation gap between parents who don't understand the language of texting and their children. Cingular, the largest cell phone company, will be holding interactive "texting bees" nationwide after the first of the year to teach parents how to send text messages to their children. It's all cloaked in the grand scheme of things to make the texting world a better place for mom, dad and their children. Of course, it's a marketing strategy to sell more cell phones. While the Cingular "texting bees" are not likely to have a major impact on anything, they do point out the fragile nature of today's&hellip

It’s a Retro-Christmas (Again)

In the past few days both The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times have had articles about the sorry state of the pop music business. The Times Sunday was talking about the baby boomers who shy away from AARP (American Association of Retired People) even though AARP is helping to sell records. How about this? Tony Bennett, the icon he is, has sold the most albums in his entire career for "Duets" (600,500 in the first seven weeks) and Bennett is doing AARP sponsored concerts. Rod Stewart, Elton, John, James Taylor and others are also selling music tied in to their senior status. This is all good unless you're concerned about the&hellip


There's a new article in the Baltimore Sun that reports campus newspapers are doing so well that advertisers are sitting up and taking notice. This fascinates me. We've seen the decline of general print newspapers for decades especially among younger readers and here we are in the age of the Internet, mobile phones and iPods and are we to believe that old fashioned printed newspapers are a hit with this same generation? You bet we are. I believe it. While general newspapers have been imitating&hellip