Ask JD: “What Constitutes a Dream Promotion?”

This weekend, one member of our media network wants to know how to forge a better bond between the radio station, listener and advertiser keeping in mind today’s economy.

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1. Four elements of a dream promotion (one of them is fantasy of the mind). Know all four before coming up with your next effort or you risk failure.

2. How should you adapt promotions to The People Meter?

3. 9 ready-to-go Dream Promotions. Only subscribers will see them so there is still time to beat your competitor to the air with one.

4. Low cost, no cost and advertiser friendly dream promotions.

5. One involves taking over the radio station.

6. Another will make your listeners beg you – I mean that – beg you to play more commercials. (Read and see why I am not kidding).

7. A dating promotion built around matching musical tastes – all the details.

8. Giveaway free jobs (I’ve done this one and it works).

All these and five more start here. 

The One-Minute Song

There is new research available about just how short attention spans are becoming and these new findings beg the question – are we in the music and media business in touch with our consumers?

This morning, I’ve got some valuable information for the music industry, radio stations and new media about changes in audience attention spans along with a list of things you may want to do to meet their new expectations.

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If you haven’t subscribed yet and would like to access this story, let me tell you what you will get in this piece.

1. Latest information on a research study of 40 million unique video clips. Guess how fast it took 20% of those viewing these clips to abandon them? You’ll never guess. I was wrong when I tried. Really way off.

2. How a Bud Light Internet-only video lost double the average number of viewers but then with a stroke of magic hooked them for the next four minutes in a commercial that netted almost one million YouTube viewers. I’ll tell you what that stroke of magic is.

3. The antidote for short attention spans – there is one, and it’s probably something musicians, broadcasters and new media ventures are not now doing.

4. My prediction of why the One-Minute Song is coming soon and why in many discreet ways it is here now.

5. Strategies radio programmers can use to cooperate with anxious listeners who don’t want to listen to even an entire song all the way through.

6. Mistakes that are being made right now that are driving listeners away (I’ll lay it out and almost every radio station is doing it). But there is an easy fix.

7. I’ll link you to the study about understanding viewer abandonment trends – it’s downloadable for free. You’ll want this.

Understanding short attention spans just in time to make them work for you, starts here. 

Why Apple Is Eying Spotify

Apple is up to something big again – and in any case – the impact on radio, records and the video business would be huge.

Apple, as I am about to share with you, has the record industry targeted for what could spell the end to record labels as we know them. Remarkably, Apple CEO Steve Jobs may hijack the rest of the record industry without label execs really understanding what he’s planning.

This morning, music industry interests, radio stations and new media startup companies will want to study this report on what Apple may be planning to do next.

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If you haven’t subscribed yet and would like to access this story, let me tell you what you will get in this piece.

1. Why Apple would negotiate with the popular streaming service Spotify that has yet to launch in the U.S. and has yet to prove its paid subscription model works in Europe.

2. What Apple’s end game is for streaming music. Is it -- to be in the streaming music business like Rhapsody or something entirely different? Okay, I’ll tell you – it is something entirely different – a masterstroke of business strategy that could impact traditional content producers for years to come.

3. How Apple’s potential plans could be as detrimental to the radio industry as filesharing has been to stations nationwide and the record industry. What radio’s best hedge against Apple’s plan?

4. My prediction of what Apple’s “Big Bang Theory” will be and how it could redefine everything from music to concert tickets. I’m putting in writing – no waffling.

Many of you know I’ve been fortunate to track Apple’s moves with a pretty good degree of accuracy. I think we have a beat on what’s going on with Apple, music, radio and streaming technology.

It starts here.

The 6 Hottest Media Growth Businesses to Watch

We all know that traditional media has been declining.

Newspapers started to lose their reason for being long before the Internet.

Radio moved away from its local model to save money for its investment bank owners and that hasn’t worked out too good.

Television is feeling the pressure of YouTube and other video services like Hulu as some 40% of all network television viewing is now done on a computer. So much for all those HD TVs out there.

The record industry is hanging on to CD sales for the majority of its revenue even at a time when consumers have moved on.

The convergence of traditional media with new media never happened.

What has happened is the arrival of social networking and mobile devices that are critical to the way more and more of us – no matter what age – are gathering information and accessing entertainment.

This morning, I’d like you to consider what I have identified as 6 of the hottest media growth businesses to watch. You may be working in traditional media or may just be an interested entrepreneur or perhaps an enlightened radio owner, but I think you’ll want to know these.

I have been working on this to prepare for our discussion at my upcoming Media Solutions Lab in January and thought you’d like to see what the future looks like so I am sharing this with you this morning.

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If you haven’t subscribed yet and would like to access this story, let me tell you what you will get in this piece.

1. The hottest (and my favorite) new business startup idea for media types that is already being tried in some cities around the country. Hint: it is very local and if you like the concept, you’ll want to get there first.  I'll link you to a popular hyperlocal site.

2. A new type of broadcasting that doesn’t involve a tower or transmitter. Heck, it doesn’t even involve Internet streaming. And yes, you could do this for a minimum investment tomorrow.

3. A publishing and blogging platform that can make you money if – if you have expertise in a niche area of interest.

4. How radio can become a growth business again. This is what I would do if I owned a radio station in the era of new media.

5. A business built around social networking that every media exec could start if

6. The replacement for network and local television – yes, you can do it yourself and catch a popular trend away from traditional TV.

Can you get a taste for why I am so excited about these evolving media growth businesses?

Learn more about them, right here. 

NAB Okays Radio Royalty Sellout

The NAB isn’t waiting for the elections to take place in a few weeks.

Not waiting to win a consensus of members.

CEO Gordon Smith, a former U.S. Senator and future lobbyist somewhere other than radio, has given the green light to complete a deal that would saddle radio stations with $100 million in new music taxes very soon.

In an arrogant and defiant mood, Smith will use his own NAB board as hostages to provide cover.

How serious is the threat this time and what are you not being told. I’ve prepared a thorough intelligence report for you this morning.

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If you haven’t subscribed yet and would like to access this story, let me tell you what you will get in this piece.

1. The real odds that this much talked about performance royalty tax will become a reality for radio stations – and when.

2. NAB CEO Gordon Smith’s motive. Why sell out your members -- most of whom oppose this tax. You won’t believe why Smith is doing this.

3. What percentage of an average station’s bottom line will the new NAB Tax on Radio represent? And remember, the performance royalty tax on radio comes right off the bottom line.

4. The chances of the $100 million tax not going up -- with examples from other countries that have already given in to the music industry.

5. Why the radio tax is chump change to the music industry. The real goal of musicFIRST and why bringing radio to its knees is so important to them. What the music industry is really after.

The answers start here.

7 Bold Radio Predictions

In the next 12 months or less, a lot of things will change in the radio industry.

Now that radio has largely become a national repeater network of non-local content to save costs and eventually make more money for their investment bank owners, monumental change is ahead.

I’ve got some predictions for you here – and my readers who have been following me for a while now know that I never back away from a prediction.

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If you haven’t subscribed yet and would like to access this story, let me tell you what you will get.

1. The number one threat to radio audiences. I name it and no, it is not the Internet. You’ll never guess. If you guess, write to me, I’d be interested to know.

2. I’ve got the line on what will happen with regard to the record industry’s attempt to win a royalty tax from radio. And a timeline.

3. Of Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey, Clear Channel President John Hogan and Citadel CEO for Life Farid Suleman one of them is not secure in their job.

4. I know – and you will, too – where Howard Stern is going after the end of the year.

5. How much longer radio lay offs will be going on. I’ll pinpoint one moment in time and name the group I expect to make the most cuts.

6. Even if radio gets the mobile industry to enable an FM chip, here’s what top radio executives missed – a golden opportunity bigger than FM radio on a cell phone. Can you guess?

7. The outlook for radio managers, salespeople and talent in the mobile Internet. And what that opportunity is.

The answers begin here. 

Ask JD: “I lost my job, what are my media options now?”

There are many people who have been laid off or fired from jobs they love in radio and the media business. I often get the question, how do I stay in the business doing something that has some upside growth potential.

This weekend, I have 5 idea starters for you. Things you can do for little or no money – with or without partners that can be revenue positive. All you need is a computer, a work ethic and the experience you bring from traditional media.

• What a fired on-air personality could do to port their franchise over to new media.

• An iPad business idea perfect for the talents that radio people possess

• The number one hottest way to create website and mobile content that you’ll be hearing a lot more of in the months ahead

• Blogging for money

• One-big day a year – a big one -- and idea #5 reveals where to begin. 

Ask JD: “I lost my job, what are my media options now?”

There are many people who have been laid off or fired from jobs they love in radio and the media business. I often get the question, how do I stay in the entertainment business doing something that has some upside growth potential.

This weekend, I have 5 idea starters for you. Things you can do for little or no money – with or without partners -- that can be revenue positive. All you need is a computer, a work ethic and the experience you bring from traditional media.

• What a fired on-air personality could do to profitably port their franchise over to new media (clue:  it's not a stream)

• An iPad business idea perfect for the talents that radio people possess

• The number one hottest way to create website and mobile content that you’ll be hearing a lot more of in the months ahead

• Blogging for money

• One-big day a year – a big one -- and idea #5 reveals where to begin. 

Moving Beyond Reinventing Radio

Every time Apple gets the whole world to focus on their new product announcements, it makes me realize that, unlike the media business, Apple doesn’t reinvent things as we try to do.

They invent new things.

This morning I am going to suggest that maybe this is the right time to move beyond reinvention to actually inventing new things. But different skills will be needed and we will have to fundamentally change the way we think.

If you are a subscriber, click through and unlock the content.

If you haven’t subscribed yet and would like to access the story, let me tell you what you will get.

1. Why the obsession with reinvention and why it never works.

2. How record labels could have invented a prosperous future in partnership with their old buddies, the radio industry, if only they could have …

3. How reinventing radio actually made things worse. I’ll cite 3 great examples from Cumulus, Citadel and Clear Channel

4. My three principles of “How to Invent” – what I use when I brainstorm with media groups.

5. How to know what can actually be invented in an existing company.

6. Overcoming the hurdle of rules and budgets.

7. How to assure success.

8. Plus, Apple COO Tim Cook’s magic words expressed this past week that will actually make us wake up and have the courage to attack our own brands in the name of inventing the future.

Inventing starts here. 

The French Kiss of Death to the Music Industry

The French government announced a new initiative Tuesday that it thinks will help kill off music piracy.

This morning, I’d like to outline the plan so you can know it and explain why it has no chance of making even a slight dent into illegal piracy.

More importantly, I’d like to run a few of my own ideas about subsidizing the music industry if governments are really willing to throw their money around (and, obviously there are).

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If you haven’t subscribed yet and would like to access the story, let me tell you what you will get.

1. The French Plan – highlights and lowlights.

2. A better plan to reprice the cost of an online song – a price that will make the labels a lot of money on legal volume at a number that even pirates can’t resist.

3. My subsidy plan for YouTube – the new radio station.

4. How about a subsidy for radio? What money would be best spent to increase music sales on radio stations.

5. How to create new artists the way Apple creates cool new products.

6. The one band that is actually the template for the record label of the future. I’ll name it and explain it.

It all starts here. 

The Non-Commercial Commercial Radio Station

I’m often asked to show new options for terrestrial radio stations that could increase audience and improve revenue. I am going to share such a concept with you this morning.

The Non-Commercial Commercial Radio Station as I envision it is one piece of a blueprint that includes seven strategic points.

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If you haven't subscribed yet and would like to access this story, let me tell you what you will get:

1. The challenges and opportunities of eliminating or reducing commercials as a way to increase revenue

2. How many spots you can get away with. I’ll name the number.

3. What compelling programming you’ll need to emphasize in order to get the best results. Elements that listeners crave.

4. How to lure listeners into paying for memberships to certain content that you can create.

5. The killer app – how to monetize a radio station with more money than you could bring in playing just commercials as your main source of revenue. I name some sample categories.

6. The Zen of a new age radio station – what must it possess or else reducing commercial loads is a waste of time.

7. The right way to do mobile content. Tie-in to on-air personalities or create new personalities for mobile? The real advantage to being a radio station in the digital age (and playing commercials or voice tracking is not what I have in mind).

The game plan begins here.

Randy Michaels Out — The Noise You Can’t Employ

Randy Michaels is out as CEO of Tribune Company according to The New York Times.

It is ironic that Michaels was brought down by another newspaper since he has a history of bad relations with independent publications he can’t control. The Times blistered Michaels and the frat house manner in which he ran Tribune in a recent article that put pressure on the Tribune board.

Michaels got away with it when Sam Zell was principal owner. But Zell is out and now so is Michaels. The Tribune board has had enough of the under performing CEO and his loyal band of radio people.

Randy always called his body of work “the noise you can’t ignore”. He used that catch phrase at several companies he ran. Unfortunately, the noise caught up with him.

Will Farid Suleman, John Hogan or Lew Dickey be next?

Inside Randy Michaels’ Firing of Lee Abrams

It took The New York Times to get Tribune Company to rein in the objectionable behavior that has poisoned the atmosphere at the troubled newspaper, television and radio company.

Last week Lee Abrams, the chief innovation officer at Tribune, recruited by CEO Randy Michaels, got snagged for sending out inappropriate videos not suitable for the workplace including one that was degrading to women.

He quit or had to quit – you can split the difference.

Degrading to women is a theme that has happened over and over again in Michaels’ career.

But this time, it was the affable Abrams who took the fall. Randy had no other choice. It was either Lee or me – and Michaels chose me.

How about this for chutzpah (shameless audacity; impudence):

Michaels, the same Randy Michaels who enables this type of sexually graphic culture, called his pal Abrams’ email: “in extremely bad taste”.


And what has gotten into Randy Michaels? Randy even said it was "the kind of serious mistake that can't be tolerated” according to a story in none other than The Chicago Tribune.

But then again, you can’t believe what you read in the papers these days or can you?

So Abrams took the fall for Michaels.

Randy Michaels acts like he has never had a poker playing, cigar smoking, lewd bash with these very employees on the hallowed ground of the Tribune Building and like that, everything goes away.

Not so fast.

I’ve got the video for you that got Abrams fired.

You can decide whether you believe Lee was sincere in his apology when he said he sent it "in hopes of inspiring them (employees) to reconsider print and broadcast convention”.

Here is the rest of the story with the most important 4 things Michaels, Abrams and his frat house crowd missed that you don’t want to miss.


Because this kind of mismanagement is going on in other media companies. And you don’t want to be unwittingly contributing to your own downfall. 

Youth and Radio’s Future

This article contains:

• The most important strategy for garnering a youth audience going forward

• Who is best qualified to be the program director of today’s youth-oriented radio

• What mistake radio stations are making that plays right into the hands of popular services like Pandora

• What is a radio station’s best “insurance policy” against Pandora

• Why People Meter-driven stations are succeeding by attracting listeners who believe it or not – do not listen and why it is so dangerous to your franchise.

• The one thing not to do from a strategic standpoint in planning radio’s future youth initiatives.

Citadel’s Fraud

It’s one thing for Citadel employees to complain about CEO Farid “Fagreed” Suleman signing a $43 million new contact right after the company emerges from bankruptcy.

It’s quite another thing when a hedge fund – that’s right, hedge fund – gets itself all hot and bothered over a mere pittance of $110 million in stock.

That hedge fund, R2 Investments, has petitioned a U.S. Bankruptcy Court to stop the awards that are planned for 2011 and 2012. R2 is outraged. Says Citadel committed a “shocking display of corporate greed and dishonesty” and “one of the most egregious frauds by a company emerging from bankruptcy under chapter 11.”


It sounds like the pot calling the kettle black.

R2 is mad because while radio people can’t understand how Suleman took Citadel into bankruptcy and then out again without missing a beat or a dollar, you can’t do that to a hedge fund. They want theirs.

What’s theirs?

How about $55 million in stock grants – mostly to Suleman but also to his puppet board of directors who reportedly received $1 million each to make Farid’s giant compensation go down a little better for them.

On the surface, R2’s lawyers say the usual stuff – Farid’s actions diluted its holdings in the company and alleges that the awards are equal to each shareholder writing a check of 7.5% of their stock’s value and giving it to CEO for Life Suleman and the board.

A hearing is scheduled for November 3, but I already know how it will work out for Citadel, R2 and Citadel employees.

Here are the three options. Let’s see which one you like.

Clear Channel, Citadel & Cumulus Firing Plans

It’s only a little more than two months before Christmas and you know what that means?

Scrooge-like radio consolidators are getting ready to give themselves the gift that keeps on giving – a lower payroll through next year and beyond.

We’re already seeing ominous signs by these bellwether radio groups that indicate they are already starting to relieve themselves of additional talent.

This couldn’t come at a worse time.

Radio execs are distracting the press, the public and advertisers touting yesterday’s announcement from Microsoft that the new Window’s Phone 7 Operating system will include the FM radio capability they have been screaming about. But that means before the holidays, radio will be firing a lot more people on and off-the-air while a host of phone manufacturers are making FM available on Verizon, Sprint, AT&T, T-Mobile and a number of other new phones.

Think of it.

More ways to hear FM radio with fewer people to do FM radio.

How insane is that?

Let’s look at the radio groups most likely to go on a firing spree this holiday season and I’ll end with 5 specific ways how you (personally or as a station) could hurt them really badly if you’re competing against these shortsighted bean counters. 

Last Week’s Social Networking Bombshell

In the past few weeks several things have happened that will have a major impact on the media business – radio, television, publishing, the music industry – due to developments in social networking.

Social networking tends to be viewed as Facebook, Twitter and their clones even though it is far more complex than that. YouTube is a social network. The popular custom radio site Pandora is fast becoming a social network.

The Internet revolution as it impacts the media business is over ten years old and traditional corporations still have not found a way to utilize their content in a way that cooperates with the inevitable changes caused by new technology and the sociology of how it is used.

I’ve often said it will not be the Internet revolution that kills traditional media. It is social media – social networking, if you will – that is the innovation that has changed everything.

It’s not that a newspaper can’t look good online. It’s that today’s readers have cool electronic devices that make it possible to feed their short attention spans when they can get what they want on-demand on their cell phones or iPads.

Text, pictures, video, sound – everything on-demand.

It’s not that radio cannot do good programming – at least small operators still know how to do great local radio even if their big consolidation brothers have forgotten.

It’s that young consumers don’t need what a radio has to offer. They were raised on iPods and they are dictating the future although media companies aren’t paying attention.

Television is in for the biggest fall of all as clearly 40% of all TV watching is done on a laptop. Whatever happened to all those high definition TVs? What’s to become of 3-D TV?

It’s not that consumers have stopped liking music that has caused the decline in CD or online paid downloads.

It’s that the consumer is looking for more music discovery, wants to share music they like with others in ways that older media execs don’t seem to understand.

Then, this.

Last week, the bombshell hit. 

The New Cumulus Firing Squad

Cumulus Media is apparently looking ahead a few months to when debt payments are once again due.

Cutting executive pay, perks or stock is apparently off the table.

Firing numerous people in a systematic way in a manner so dramatic that it leaves a five-station cluster with only 3-4 people on site locally to run it.

Now comes word about the new Cumulus “Firing Squad” from inside accounts that in some cases have reportedly left up to 14 people out of work in a single day.

How it is reportedly being done under the radar and how Cumulus reaps great savings by having a small handful of roving managers oversee their local radio licenses.

But there are also unintended consequences.

Here’s a report from a Cumulus employee:

The New Rules of the Media Business

My network of readers is on it. I must have received 100 copies of this week’s New York Times article on Randy Michaels, Sam Zell and the counterculture at the financially troubled Tribune Company.

I’m somewhat of an authority on Randy having stared him down during his days at Clear Channel as the top gun there. And you, could probably have written your own article on this most complex, talented and enigmatic media executive.

I read that article wondering how large media companies with every advantage are failing – Tribune is not alone.

Clear Channel.



A host of radio consolidators.

The big four record labels – every one of them. TV networks.


What is it that these failing ventures all have in common that we should do our best to avoid? 

The Mickey Luckoff Lockout

I guess it’s impossible to quit Farid Suleman, the Citadel CEO for Life.

Legendary and well respected KGO/KSFO, San Francisco President/GM Mickey Luckoff had it up to here with Suleman’s meddling on Monday when he in essence said you can’t fire me, I quit.

The next day, Sillyman and his circus clowns pulled off one of the most embarrassing stunts even in the pitiful age of post-consolidation. When you hear the details it will make you realize why radio is in the mess it is in right now.

I’m going to bring it all back alive right here with the inside story of class vs. crass that led to one of American radio's best managers being locked out of the station he ran for 35 years.

Subscribe Now to Keep Inside Music Media Coming

Well, the day has finally come when Inside Music Media becomes a paid subscription publication.

In the four years or so that I have been writing Inside Music Media, our readership has grown from 42 students of mine at USC who were forced to read it upon penalty of failing the class to almost 10,000 people like you every day. That tells me there are a lot of media folks who have their eye on the future.

Thank you!

My site started as a learning tool while I was a professor of music industry at the University of Southern California. I took the teaching job because my non-compete with Clear Channel when they purchased Inside Radio kept me out of broadcasting for four years.

When I returned, I was a different person because the next generation was embracing new media – and this time I believe I knew why and to what extent. At first, it was iPods and illegal filesharing but today, even the CEOs of traditional media companies know that the digital revolution is real.

What I have tried to do in these posts every day (and I have indeed published almost every day as it has been my passion and pleasure) is show you the future as I see it.

Forward looking.


I mince no words.

And I wrote to ask you to consider what will become of radio (the consolidators will likely fail but their talent will go on to careers in new media). To call out in no uncertain terms the perpetrators as I see them (for example, how Farid Suleman’s meddling lost him the KGO, San Francisco franchise). Even have a little fun with them and poke fun at myself along the way.

I discussed this day with you well in advance of it actually happening. After all, I believe paid is the new free on the Internet – not that free content and ad supported content will ever go away. I am not the kind of guy who likes to tiptoe around advertisers. I wanted to remain independent yet sought a way to be compensated for my efforts.

I’m sure you know I love radio. My background includes TV and publishing. I have been fortunate to present the view of the future well in advance of it happening. You’ll remember the iPad that is growing in popularity daily. You read about it here when it was still a gleam in Steve Jobs’ eye.

And how to deal with 21 million more iPads?

That’s what I’m talking about now.

Over the years, we’ve given you early warning on new trends, the dismantling of the radio industry by a handful of execs who owe their fortunes to Wall Street, the importance of social networking, the value of letting the audience lead the way, the new mobile Internet, new ways to monetize content, the critical importance of music and why the music industry is in peril.

So starting today, you will have an opportunity to subscribe to Inside Music Media to keep it coming tomorrow morning and for as long as you want. You’re in control.

A one-year subscription is $99.

A one-month subscription is $9.99.

That’s approximately 39 cents a day based on the one-year rate.

Please subscribe and save me from having to go work for Lew Dickey at 39 cents a day!

My story archives are no longer public, but as a subscriber you will have access to them -- over 1,100 articles on a wide variety of topics in radio, new media, social networking, mobile, video, music industry and the impact of new technology on audience behavior. The search tools are quite robust. I think you’ll find the archives invaluable going forward.

The new Inside Music Media website also features an entire section on the 2011 Media Solutions Lab in January, my favorite things, ways to stay connected with each other, an easy way to make this site an app icon for your iPad, iPhone and Touch. More than you probably want to know about me. A new secure and confidential way to report news tips and contact me. I think you'll really like it.

The new site was built by a brilliant designer, Brock Ferguson from Caribou.

After the 2010 Media Solutions Lab almost everyone who heard me mention this subscription plan as part of our overall free vs. paid learning module said, “I’m with you”. Stay independent. I appreciate your support and kindness.

Some of my friends have asked if there is a chance that Inside Music Media will one day revert back to being free. I’ve considered all options and arrived at the conclusion that I will write it for everyone who wants to support it by subscribing. There will be no going back – anyway, this is what I believe is the future. I’m practicing what I preach.

Typically, I spend between two and three hours a day writing and researching each piece. Another hour of layout, proofing and fact checking. I’ve been writing a book for the past two years – my first, called “Out of Bad Comes Good – The Advantages of Disadvantages” a motivational book inspired by my Dale Carnegie work, life’s experience and my USC students. It’s been a lot of writing.

I get about 300 emails or Facebook messages a day about each post I write often with opinion or added information. Roughly one out of every four topics I write about are suggested by readers -- many of whom I feel are my friends even if we have not met in person.

To all of you, my sincere thanks. This has been so much fun and I have learned more from you then you can even know.

So that moment has arrived -- to continue to keep Inside Music Media coming uninterrupted, I hope you will subscribe now and not miss a day. 

One of my readers sent me a note back in November of 2008 telling me why he looks forward to reading my posts every day. I have it on my desk as a reminder and inspiration:

“…insightful, deadly honest, entertaining and informative”

Whether you decide to continue receiving Inside Music Media every day or not, I thank you for the time we’ve spent together and wish for you that which you wish for yourself – success and happiness.

To remain an Inside Music Media subscriber, sign up here.  Then, Thursday you will automatically get my next story on how Citadel Media's Farid Suleman locked KGO icon Mickey Luckoff out of his office Tuesday and refused to pay his severance.   It's a case of class vs. crass.   

Mickey’s Monkey

Yesterday, KGO/KSFO President & General Manager Mickey Luckoff finally got the monkey off his back that has been hounding him for the past three years.

Luckoff fired his boss -- Farid "Fagreed" Suleman, CEO of Citadel.

I’ve got the inside story for you on what happened and why – and why now?

After all, the newly non-bankrupted Citadel Broadcasting needs KGO and KSFO in San Francisco to continue to print money – the better to fund Suleman’s new deal.

You won’t believe the details on their relationship and what it was like for Luckoff to go from ABC management to Mickey Mouse management. You’d think previous owner Disney would have been the Mickey Mouse operator but it turned out it may have been Citadel.

Luckoff spent 35 years as the driving force behind KGO’s news/talk format working for ABC, Capital Cities, Disney and Citadel. He has won tons of awards. Raised millions for lots of good causes. Attracted and kept some of the greatest radio talent on-the-air.

When I spoke with Mickey yesterday I told him he should get an anti-nausea award for not getting sick to his stomach watching Fagreed mismanage the company.

The 74-year old Luckoff is upbeat. He’s getting married at the end of the year. Will write a book about his experiences. It’s all good now that he has ended his long national nightmare.

In a moment you’ll know the proverbial rest of the story. And when Luckoff wrote his resignation letter (you won’t believe it). Plus, the straw that broke the camel’s back.

I’ve compiled a list of eight reasons why Luckoff left his employ after three and a half decades.

So here is the inside story you won’t be reading in the happy talk press this morning:

6 Roadblocks to the Digital Future

(Clockwise, JD, my wife Cheryl, Deneese and Dave Van Dyke, old radio friends who visited The Valley of the Sun this weekend)

It is sure not the consumer getting in the way of the coming digital content revolution.

Consumers are gobbling up Apple products, Android phones and all types of digital content as fast as they come to market.

It is more than significant that outstanding content producers are struggling to make new media pay off for them. Apple has found a way – make the cool products that consumers will scarf up even in a prolonged recession.

But Verizon hasn’t come up with a good idea nor have the other cell phone operators beyond what they fell into which was text messaging at $20 per month. And who can live without text messaging?

The digital future is more than texting, apps and iTunes.

Apple isn’t even going to go there. Steve Jobs is smarter than that. Apple will continue coming up with the products and infrastructure and will charge content providers a distribution fee. And while some publishers have complained about Apple getting 30% of their subscription take, there has always been a distribution fee.

Radio stations have to maintain towers and transmitters and engineers (except at consolidated stations where they’ve fired most of them). Newspapers have printing presses. TV isn’t cheap to produce – production takes people and costs money.

For content providers, then, new media companies and traditional ones like publishers, radio, television, music and even film – there are some significant roadblocks in the way.

How Much New Media Must Radio Do

At first, Bruce Reese’s comments made at Kurt Hanson’s RAIN Summit in Washington, DC this week startled me.

According to press accounts, Reese, the Bonnevile CEO, said, “I’m not sure I see streaming as a big revenue source, at least for our company”.


Bonneville is the one radio company actually making significant money from new media.

Even at this very moment – after years of recession – some 6% of Bonneville’s year-to-date net revenue and 8% of its net operating income are a direct result of digital endeavors.

Insiders at Bonneville say that the corporate edict is to grow those numbers in the year ahead while spending next to nothing to do it. In other words, Bonneville is just like other radio groups in that when it comes to new media, it throws nickels around like manhole covers.

I am a great admirer of the way Reese runs Bonneville, arguably the most employee-friendly company in radio. And while I don’t agree on his choice for NAB CEO, Reese is a smart radio guy who gets it.

That’s why I am wondering aloud why Reese is publicly throwing cold water on the notion that digital media is going to be a huge part of radio’s future prosperity.

If you consider new media advertising, you’ll note that during the almost three year economic downturn radio has lumbered through, only new media posted growth numbers in ad revenue. I believe when a full recovery is felt, new media ad sales will continue to outperform traditional advertiser options even as others recover.

So what is Bruce Reese up to when he talks about streaming as more of a promotional than revenue generator?

In fact, here’s five things Reese knows that I don’t think he’s sharing with his competitors: