August 22, 2014Craving Something Different
When I picked the Sunday Los Angeles Times off the driveway last Sunday, an advertising circular fell out of the plastic wrap, fluttering back to the ground, calling attention to itself. It was for the fourth annual Los Angeles Food and Wine Festival, and as I retrieved it from the asphalt, it reminded me of a book I'd recently read, a book about the history of the Food Network called "From Scratch." The book chronicles how the cable network went from a way for a newspaper company to stake out channels on cable systems to a bargaining chip for television stations to claim retransmission consent concessions from cable, to a fairly dodgy collection of cooking shows with vermin running around the studio, to a household name and major player, and it explains how the latter jump occurred. A lot of it was the recognition that food had become entertainment, chefs were the new rock stars, and the days when you could just point a camera at Jacques Pepin shoveling a pan into the oven were over.
August 15, 2014Basic Instinct
There was something mentioned in passing on Larry Gifford's fine Radio Stuff podcast this week that struck me as interesting. Larry mentioned a show that told him that they didn't want to touch the Robin Williams story because they're a sports show and it wasn't what ...
August 8, 2014Playing the Room
It's not like anyone was surprised by the Pittsburgh flip, the FM talker dumping the format for Country, the lineup moving to an AM station. I mean, I even alluded to it the other week -- when I wrote about using stations in a cluster to do the same format as a ...
August 1, 2014The Alternate History
Say it never happened. Say there was no consolidation. Say the Telecommunications Act wasn't rewritten in 1996. Say ownership was capped at 7-7-7 the way it used to be. Where would we be now? Would we still be looking at a stagnant industry and wondering what to do ...
July 25, 2014And The Skies ARE Cloudy All Day, It Turns Out
You wanna talk about discouraging? Not mild setback disappointing, or Ryan Howard disappointing, but soul-sucking discouragement that takes the wind out of you and makes you wonder about the point of everything? Try sitting through a radio company's post- earnings ...
July 18, 2014A Change Will Do You Good
It's axiomatic that the only constant in life is that everything changes -- Heraclitus, I believe, sort of (depends on the translation), or maybe Kathy Troccoli. (Obscure early '90s Top 40 references FTW.) Either way, we know this, or think we do. Yet the radio ...
July 11, 2014Too Long At The Party
A couple of weeks ago, the guy who runs the Philadelphia Phillies, Dave Montgomery, gave an interview to the Bucks County Courier Times (subscription required) in which he explained why the team was not ready to accept the obvious. The obvious is, of course, that the ...
June 27, 2014A Kick In The Butt
So soccer wasn't anything in America and now it is. That's not true, of course, but it SEEMS that way. Sure, there were AYSO leagues and sparsely-attended (except for a few markets) pro matches, and Premier League matches on cable, but it wasn't a national obsession, ...
June 20, 2014Sticks and Stones, Rubber and Glue
For once, there are radio conventions going on and I'm not attending them. It wasn't deliberate -- I had to remain in California for reasons too boring to outline here -- but I couldn't go, so the world is being deprived of my usual irritated tweets from the back of the ...
June 13, 2014Free To Fail
If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. We learn from our mistakes. Insert your own clichés about trial-and-error here. Most businesses spend inordinate amounts of money on research and development with the understanding that some of it will lead to products that ...