Taking Seth Godin’s Advice on Radio

I've always liked Mark Ramsey. He's uncommonly bright and is one of the go-to people for helping you figure out how to live in the future.

Mark's Hear2.0 has an interview with Seth Godin, best selling author of Permission Marketing and now The Dip.

Godin describes The Dip like this "most of the things we set out to do in our lives are controlled by one of two curves. Most things are dead ends or cul-de-sacs. They are flat paths. They

Bill O’Shaughnessy — The Original Social Networker

I love this man.

I have known him a long time going back to the early days of Inside Radio when he offered wise advice and counsel. I still consider him my Irish consigliere.

When I married my wife, Cheryl, in 1998 he and his beautiful wife Nancy (shown here with Bill) were there as Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell married us at the Four Seasons in Philadelphia. O'Shaughnessy provided the "smoothies" who made the music as only he can. And can he and Nancy tear up a dance floor!

This is my way of saying I cannot be objective about Bill O'Shaughnessy, but I remain observant.

In all my years in broadcasting this&hellip

Next After Silence

The "Day Of Silence" in support of more equitable copyright royalty rates charged to Internet streamers went off remarkably well yesterday.

Kurt Hanson's RAIN reported that massive listener support crippled servers and switchboards at Congress -- the ultimate target of this protest.

There was significant support for the "Day of Silence" from Internet broadcasters particularly but not limited to the large companies that have the most to lose July 15th when the draconian new rate structure is to be implemented.

I was not impressed that many, many&hellip

Talk Radio Is Broken But Works Just Fine

Take an issue -- preferably a polarizing issue like immigration or the Iraq war -- turn it over to terrestrial radio and they beat it to death.

In the process, they quickly sink to the lowest common denominator and insult just about everyone who disagrees with them sometimes ending by questioning the patriotism of those who disagree.

And, of course, they get ratings -- big ratings.

It doesn't matter whether they talk from the left side of their mouth or the right, their listeners are kind of on the older side.

Now let's test my assertion.

Take the issue of Hillary Clinton and Barbara Boxer out to "fix"&hellip

If Clear Channel Supported The Portable Truth Meter

Over the weekend Inside Radio broke the news that Clear Channel had finally decided to become an Arbitron People Meter client. It's reportedly a multi-year deal covering 50 markets.

I don't know how Clear Channel does this with a straight face. I am going to get sick when I see the trade press coverage today and Tuesday hailing this as a great step. Of course, no one should know more than I do that you don't want to get Clear Channel mad.

Since I guess I never learned my lesson, I've got another take to share with you.

This is all about one company -- the largest with over 1,100 radio stations and a near monopoly&hellip

Radio’s Sounds of Silence

How can so many smart people do so many dumb things.

Take the music industry's move to get radio to pay a performance tax.


Free exposure on the nation's airwaves is what sells music.

The radio industry is up in arms about the possibility of paying such a tax, but they are doing nothing to prevent it from becoming inevitable.

Nothing is what radio has done since the late 1980's -- the Dark Ages of Radio then began.

Radio execs have a hard time seeing the progression of unfortunate events. Satellite and cable radio were forced to pay a fee to broadcast music. And on July 15th the Internet&hellip

The Pirates of LA and New York

Do you ever get the feeling that the four major record labels can't be bothered with the next generation and their unorthodox ways?

These labels are so secretive, silent and yes, shameful these days while almost everyone else is at least trying something to become part of the digital future.

Their seeming indifference to reality leads us to to butcher a famous Marie Antoinette quote: "Let them eat vinyl".

Look, I don't like theft any more than the labels do.

When I owned the trade publication Inside Radio we used to charge over $400 a year for each subscription to the daily fax of news and comment. I sure as&hellip

What If Apple Marketed HD Radio

HD is amazing radio -- the best that's ever been created. Its revolutionary ability to deliver several channels from the same station will bring variety back to radio listening. HD radio combines three products -- your usual channel in enhanced audio, several sub-channels with additional programming and a digital readout to provide critical information. It's an entirely new way to listen to radio and it's available June 29th.


I can't do this. I'm playing with you just to make a point.

That exciting first paragraph is inspired by the Apple web site description of&hellip

While Radio Says “What, Me Worry?”

Like the iconic heart and soul of Mad Magazine, Alfred E. Neuman, the radio industry is being run by many radio CEOs who have taken Neuman's motto to heart: "what, me worry"?

I don't believe -- no, can't believe, that radio CEOs are concerned about the digital future vis-a-vis their radio stations.

They certainly do worry about quarterly earnings.

They worry about share price.

They worry about the next play.

The digital future? It doesn't seem like our radio leaders have a care in the world.

All one needs to do is take a look at the amount of money terrestrial radio companies have committed to the&hellip

The Lunacy of Citadel Buying ABC

Why is it that when a company spends $2.7 billion to do a complicated buyout of an old radio company everyone thinks they are good investors?

Am I the only one who looks at Citadel's purchase of ABC as a colossal overpayment for radio stations with an aging audience and a questionable future.

I don't mean this as criticism of the programming people and managers who have made ABC one of the most profitable radio groups. It's just that their time is up. Their stations are not going to win the future generation and yet Citadel gets backing to do the ABC deal based on a lot of good yesterdays.

I'm not naive. I know why&hellip

Answer To Radio Music Royalties: Stop The Music

From the people who brought you suing their customers you now have "performance fees" for terrestrial radio.

Their argument goes: satellite and Internet must pay a performance fee, so the nation's AM and FM stations should, too. These extra fees -- in addition to music licensing charges -- could seriously impact the radio industry as it fights for a place in the digital world.

But what groups like Music First coalition are guaranteeing is their further demise as well.

The record industry is in worse shape than radio. This desperate last-ditch attempt to&hellip

Panty Raids — The Best Radio Can Offer

Did you catch the latest radio blunder -- this one out of Philadelphia?

It seems that CBS-owned WYSP's "Free FM" had a discussion on panties Wednesday morning.

Kidd Chris was entertaining frequent contributor Danny Ozark (real name Peter Goldman) on-the-air when Ozark confessed that he met a girl at a June 2nd Phillies game who was house sitting for local NBC10 investigative reporter Lu Ann Cahn.

As the story goes, the girl inappropriately invited Ozark and a buddy to the house where they eventually went through Cahn's underwear drawers. He is reported to have said that he had hoped to try some on but he knew they&hellip

Radio Failing Online

I knew this years ago when I arrived on the campus of USC.

I didn't want to believe it. Didn't believe that it was as bad as it has turned out to be, but now the latest Arbitron data is confirming my worst fears -- streaming terrestrial radio is laying an egg on the Internet.

This in spite of all the hype about how certain large conglomerates are increasing their online streaming numbers. In reality they are going from hardly any online listeners to their terrestrial programming to almost hardly any listeners when you compare apples to apples.

How does less than 1% sound?

Online listening to AM/FM stations&hellip

Professor Paris Hilton Teaches Media

I have been as amazed as you most likely are about the clinic Paris Hilton is putting on for the media business.

It's true that sites like Perez Hilton and TMZ live another day just to cover celebrities such as Paris Hilton, Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan and the like screwing up. Online, their readers come and go as their interest ebbs and flows. You can never get too much Paris Hilton coverage if you're the one clicking for more.

What you may not be seeing is how Paris Hilton is teaching the traditional media business all about its destructive bad self.

Except, the media business is not listening.

NBC News&hellip

MUSIC INDUSTRY: The Jersey Handshake

I caught "The Jersey Boys" on Broadway last week.

It lived up to its excellent reviews. Being Italian, a Jersey boy myself (Hoboken) and being in the radio industry the story resonated with me.

First, I can't remember being in the same place with so many baby boomers since my college graduation.

These boomers (usually called "aging baby boomers" by the press) had a grand old time reliving the career of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons.

I am with the next generation so much in my teaching at USC I've gotten to know them in a way I never intended. They are just like the X'ers and boomers and yet they are so&hellip

RADIO: Lessons From “The History of Rock ‘n Roll”

Over the Memorial Day weekend my wife listens to terrestrial radio for the only time of the year.

CBS-owned KOOL-FM in Phoenix cues up the Bill Drake-narrated rockumentary that many of us have heard in various forms from the very first edition over 30 years ago. And many of us as program directors have aired "The History" just as CBS was doing -- to make money over the three-day weekend and to keep listeners listening longer.

Tuesday morning, my wife returned to listening to Sirius satellite stations. I don't detect any great love for their programming on her part. The main advantage: it's installed in the car and&hellip

Where The Internet Has Failed To Make Money

You need only to look to the panicked state of radio, records, television and newspapers to understand the monumental effect the Internet has had on the music media business.

Here's a short course:

Radio, the medium for every next generation since it arrived on the scene, is forced to share time with the Internet. How about 5o% of a young persons spare time directed to their life is online according to some researchers. Streaming of radio stations although on the increase has so so far not been the answer.

In fact, it's Internet streaming that will be the next hot thing. Probably not the kind of streaming done by&hellip

The Mobile Future

With just weeks until the Apple iPhone becomes available to consumers -- the most significant mobile happening in history -- traditional media need to have a better understanding of the repercussions.

When was the last time a satellite radio executive said don't go to the store on the day satellite radio will be debuted. Or can you imagine a radio exec saying stay away from Radio Shack or Best Buy the day HD radio debuted.

Well, Apple's Steve Jobs had the chutzpah to tell cell phone shoppers to stay away from the Apple stores on the day the iPhone is released because the line to get in will be around the block. Ever the&hellip

How To Fix The Music Industry

Now this is a headline that is irresistible because it is so outrageous. Who has the answers that will save the music business?

I confess, it's not me, but I do have some ideas and they're based on my observations of smart Internet people and the next generation which I have gotten to know very well over the past three years.

Amazon has announced it will begin selling digital rights management-free music as it creates its own version of Apple's iTunes.

For the rest of us, this sounds like good news. More music available without anti-piracy technology and it all plays on our iPods.

But it's not that&hellip