Sometimes It Skips A Generation
March 31, 2015
Actor Michael Keaton once did a movie called Multiplicity in which he cloned himself in order to get more done at work, home and at play. The first three clones were fine, but the 4rth clone was one generation too many. This version was not as sharp as the others; he did things like shaving his tongue with a razor blade and licking pizza instead of eating it.
What I am leading to is that although the Y/Millennial Generation (born after 1980) have done fairly well with decision making and moving things along, the Z Generation (born in the mid-90s-early 00s) seem to have the makings for extraordinary innovation and vision for the future in all industries.
Don't get me wrong, Millennials have accomplished a lot, but according to a 2015 Census Bureau report, about one-third of them are still living with their parents. I know there are circumstances which make this necessary, but the Baby Boomer Generation seemed to have more of the survival gene. Look, it's all subjective, but most of the folks I know went out on their own after college regardless. Recently one PD told me that after graduating from college, his mother gave him some money and a one-way bus ticket to another city to seek his fame and fortune.
Speaking In General Terms
Keep in mind, I am dealing in generalities and there are many less-than-enthused workers and leaders in every generation, but it just seems as if the Zs stand out in a massive wave. They have had the advantage of being born into an age of industry growth our society has not seen in a long time. Technology from hardware to software is growing as fast as the mind can come up with the latest innovation.
Generation Z seems to be a throwback to the Baby Boomer mentality, wanting to go it alone in the world and become relevant before they get into or graduate college. Zs have grown up in a healthier economy and are more culturally diverse and accepting of social changes in America.
They Are Growing Up Faster
The best example I know is already doing syndicated radio and is a multimedia personality with a huge following. His name is Zach Sang and he is a veteran at age 21. Yep, he started with an Internet radio show when he was 14. He built a worldwide online audience to 2.6 million. He was doing interviews with everyone from Justine Bieber to the Black Eyed Peas. All the notoriety led to work with Nickelodeon TV and a host of other entertainment opportunities. These days, his Westwood One show is syndicated nightly in 54 markets on Top 40 and Hot AC stations.
Then there is a coaching client of mine, 14-year-old Amiri Tulloch. He has already interviewed the President, the new NBA Commissioner, MLB's new Commissioner, written for Teen Sports Illustrated, worked for the New York Jets, and hosted a nightly sports show on Blog Talk radio. He's been working at this for three years. His demo and resume of work is better than mine was at 30. Did I mention he is learning how to speak Russian?
These young men are just two examples of the independent forward thinking Z Generation. I happen to know that both can take an idea from the past and reinvent it in ways far beyond their years on this planet.
I am confident the Z Generation will expand and inner connect traditional radio with new applications of audio media. My advice to PDs with interns and young eager jocks, never overlook any information pertaining to all forms of media. Pieces of useful knowledge can come from unexpected sources. Don't be afraid of new, tradition is forever changing and these days it changes fast.