I think that Mark Ramsey is one of the best thinkers about radio today – here is a very helpful post that I think sums up what we are all trying to do in the FTMC project. His focus is for profit – but the ideas remain true for all of us.
As we come to the end of the year – I look forward to looking at what we have learned – my bet is that it is more than we think!
- We are solving problems
- We are organized around an audience/people versus a platform
- We work directly with our partners – some of who will fund the work
- We are creating whole channels and platforms for content
- We are measuring outcomes rather than ears and eyeballs”
He starts with this provocation:
“Don’t read this if you don’t care about radio’s future or if you’re counting down the days to your retirement.
Every now and then some thinking comes along that puts it all in perspective. This piece from Ad Age is one such summation of thinking that has been bubbling up over the past few months from folks like Tom Asacker and others.
What is the blueprint for what radio will need to be to compete successfully as a vital enterprise in the years to come?
The trajectory of our future can be summed up as follows:
Almost every consumer marketer I’ve spoken to…is moving toward the goal of making marketing more outcome-specific, targeted, useful and conversational, and less about blasting of what we’ve generally called “brand” messages via specific platforms. They see some of today’s media companies as shaping into useful potential partners in those efforts, and others as increasingly redundant — and they’re spending less and less with the latter.
The radio – media – company of the future will:
1. Act more like a marketing company than a media company.
Says Ad Age: “Good partners will be marketing companies, operations set up and focused on solving brand marketers’ problems by means of the connection they can create with an audience and results that connection can deliver.”
In other words, the model will shift from selling access to listener ears in bulk toward selling solutions to marketers’ problems via connections. That is essentially the difference between “advertising” and “marketing,” so choose your side of the fence wisely.
2. Be organized around an audience and not a platform.
Broadcasters frequently talk about being “platform agnostic,” but too often what that really means is putting our radio signal in other places or on other devices. That’s just transporting the problem, not solving it. Your job is to rally an audience of raving fans and satisfy the appetites of those fans while connecting them to the marketers who crave them. Period.
3. Work directly with marketers.
Being bought off a ranker is not the same as working in partnership with marketers. Increasingly, the ranker-buyers will be the obstacles to our success, not the reason for it.
4. Not just create spaces for ads next to content, it’ll create whole media channels and platforms for brands
Writes Ad Age: “Brands want to be at the center of content and communities and they’re going to create these channels with or without media companies.” It’s up to us to bring the talent to the party and to build these channels in concert with advertisers. Or they will simply build them without us.
5. Employ technologists who can build device-agnostic platforms for marketers.
Note the distinction between building these platforms for marketers and building them for your radio brands. Recognize above all else who is in the driver’s seat. Hint: It’s not your radio brand. It’s your radio brand’s customer base, the marketers.
6. Know how to deliver instantaneous gratification when it comes to measurement, and it’ll be measuring outcomes not outputs. A rating…stat is not going to be enough in the future, and certainly not when it’s presented weeks after the fact.
The dawn of the post-Arbitron world is before us”
Monday on The American Experience: The 1930s:
Civilian Conservation CorpsIn March 1933, within weeks of his inauguration, President Franklin Roosevelt sent legislation to Congress aimed at providing relief for the one out of every four American workers who were unemployed.
He proposed a Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) to provide jobs in natural resource conservation. Over the next decade, the CCC put more than three million young men to work in the nation’s forests and parks, planting trees, building flood barriers, fighting fires and maintaining roads and trails.
Corps workers lived in camps under quasi-military discipline and received a wage of $30 per month, $25 of which they were required to send home to their families. This program interweaves rich archival imagery with the personal accounts of CCC veterans to tell the story of one of the boldest and most popular New Deal experiments, positioning it as a pivotal moment in the emergence of modern environmentalism and federal unemployment relief.
The five-part series, “The 1930s,” draws parallels between our current age and the Great Depression era, examining the political and cultural life of America during one of history’s most tumultuous decades.
Learn more about the series and watch films online here.
Here is a snip and link to a great post by KERA on the North Texas Food Bank – As more people are stretched why not start to think of the Food Bank as the possible centre of a local food system where the system expands from a donation model to a local supply model where people learn also how to grow and make food for each other?
The North Texas Food Bank is working to expand its reach to meet the growing demand and is in its second year of a campaign to narrow the gap between available services and demand by expanding annual access to 50 million meals.
Last year, it provided access to 37 million meals.
The nonprofit agency was created in 1982 to pull together efforts to feed hungry residents of 13 counties, securing donations of surplus unmarketable, but wholesome, food and grocery products to distribute throughout its network. Last year, the agency distributed more than 39 million pounds of food through partner agencies in Dallas, Denton, Collin, Fannin, Rockwall, Hunt, Grayson, Kaufman, Ellis, Navarro, Lamar, Delta and Hopkins counties.
Food collected by the North Texas Food Bank is distributed through 291 agencies, supporting 1,146 feeding and education programs.
Is this an idea that is ripe for Public Stations to add to their work on FTMC? Would it not be the same kind of work – helping glue the community together – telling the stories etc?
Frontline have just put on a very important show, The Warning, that gets behind the regulatory screen. The informed citizen needs to be more skeptical.
Amber Johnson sent me this 100 item resource today – real – personal – effective and the POV of taking control – brilliant. Here is how it starts:
Whether you’re fresh out of college and looking for work or trying to get back in the workforce, unemployment can be quite a predicament. Chances are, you’ll need all the help you can get. Make use of these lifehacks to make your unemployed life just a bit easier.
Make use of these general unemployment lifehacks.
- Appreciate being unemployed: Enjoy your unemployment while it lasts.
- Stay social: Make sure you keep putting an effort into maintaining a good social life.
- Get a business card: This tiny tool can help you connect with others, especially employers, in a really big way.
- Improve your mindset: Use unemployment as an opportunity to tackle problems in your life.
- Join a support group: Get help with unemployment by seeking out libraries, churches, and other organizations that offer unemployment support groups.
- Give yourself an assessment: Look at your strengths and think about what you really want to do now that you’ve left your old job.
- Stay positive: Look on the bright side and take advantage of your time unemployed.
- Make friends with your librarian: Visit your library for free entertainment, job hunting help, and great community resources.
WBUR is seeing a new story in Mass – the crisis is now affecting everyone.The crisis is growing in intensity and has momentum. The key is employment.
Also when you look at the end of the story, it also raises a new issue – the mega banks are protected but the local crisis is putting intolerable pressure on the local banks. It is the smaller banks that are failing.
The reason for these auctions is not the crazy interest-rate mortgages. It’s the recession. Nowadays, people are losing their homes the way they used to before the sub-prime crisis.
“Historically, people lost their home when they lost their job, they lost their health or they lost their spouse,” says Nick Retsinas, a housing market economist at Harvard University.
Unemployment is to blame again today. The number of foreclosure proceedings in Massachusetts has jumped an alarming 150 percent. (My emphasis)
In fact, people under foreclosure I talked to in Sudbury didn’t want to be interviewed for this story. They said they’re ashamed — to have lost their jobs; to have run out of savings; to not be able to make their payments.
Whitney Tilson, a Harvard Business School grad and money manager, said, “the number of distressed homes coming through the pipeline has actually never been greater than right now.”
Tilson says Sudbury is a good example of what this coming wave could do to the market. Only seven homes above $1,000,000 have sold in the town this year. Last year it was 43, and that was a bad year.
“The listed prices appear to show that prices are holding up, but that’s phony,” Tilson says. “So what breaks the logjam? The wave of foreclosures working their way through the pipeline.”
Foreclosed properties priced to sell will push housing prices down and push more homeowners under water and into foreclosure. And that could really hurt regional banks.
Unlike the sub prime mortgage crisis — which hammered national mortgage companies — in this instance, local banks carry more of these loans. When Massachusetts banks stand to lose as much as a few hundred thousand dollars a pop, they get more conservative about lending. Tilson says that will suppress economic recovery.
CPB have put our project on the front page of their site – Here is the link to the letter that Jack Galmiche sent on your behalf to Pat Harrison. In a quiet way, I think that we are making history. Proving to others and to ourselves how we can become a powerful agency for good in our communities.
Stephanie Walker blogs about her own experience here – she has become one of the most powerful voices in the movement to avoid being helpless. Here today she guest blogs on another new and powerful voice Magpie Girl (aka Rachelle Mee-Chapman ). Here is her Manifesto about how to keep your composure and spirit going when your life is falling in around you.
*8 Things that Helped Us
Turn Our Personal Housing Crisis into an Opportunity
By Stephanie Walker
Last year at this time, our house was on the market, our bank account was negative and my husband Bob and I were both unemployed. Things were not quite going according to plan. The plan, when Bob’s high-paying contract got cut short, was to sell the house, pay off our debts, rent and start over again. We didn’t want to sell our house, but it was the only way out. We were sinking way too fast. We needed a new plan. The new plan, we agreed, was to turn our financial disaster into an opportunity. Somehow. You know, the whole idea of never letting a good crisis go to waste. Our crisis, we firmly believed, could be an opportunity to reinvent ourselves, to learn, to re-prioritize. A challenge, indeed. But a worthy challenge. We may lose it all, but what we would gain in the process could be something more valuable than any house.
With that new thinking, we moved through our foreclosure story. Yes, it became a foreclosure story. We defaulted on our loan and received the “Notice of Intent to Accelerate” from the bank the week before Christmas 2008. In the end, to make a very long and exciting story short, we ended up selling the house in a short sale, narrowly avoiding foreclosure. We sold 90% of our possessions and moved to the suburbs of Chicago to live with my family. We’ve been here for three months. And in less than a week we will be moving to the San Juan Islands where we will be house-sitting for two years and living rent-free. Yes. From a $5,000 mortgage to rent-free. From Los Angeles, California to an island in the Pacific Northwest.
Here are 8 Things that helped us turn our personal housing crisis into an opportunity
1. Talking: I know, this is easier said than done. But now is not the time to keep your concerns, fears, resentments or pain to yourself. Talk about how you’re feeling. Share. Be vulnerable. Does this sound trite? Well, it’s not. Bob is not one to automatically share openly his darkest thoughts. But when he did, it helped not only him but me. It was helpful to know what he was struggling with internally so that I could be more patient or give him the space he needed. And he found that saying it out loud lessened the hold these fears had when internalized. Express it and let it go.
2. The pact: Bob and I made a pact with each other to turn our crisis into an opportunity. We promised each other that we would view every hurdle as an opportunity for growth. That this could be the perfect chance for us to learn how to be happy in the face of any circumstance. We promised to be at our best. And to be there for each other. This pact worked because we were both so profoundly committed to it. We understood that without this pact, our chances for happiness were slim. So we respected the pact and held to it. You can make a pact like this with yourself, but I recommend sharing it with another person so that they can help you keep it in existence.
3. Allowing Others In: Of course we were embarrassed about our situation. We felt like dummies. Idiots. Failures. But we trusted that our friends and family would not judge us as harshly as we were judging ourselves. And we let them in. I’m not saying we showed them our budgets or our credit report. But we did tell them what was happening along the way. We told our friends and family and eventually our neighbors. And then I started writing about everything on “Love in the time of Foreclosure.” We held nothing back.
When our bank account was overdrawn, they brought us homemade lasagna. When I was stressed, they took me out for happy hour. When we just needed to talk, they listened. When we had our estate sale, they were there first thing in the morning running the show. Our friends were amazing. Amazing. The best part about allowing them in on our financial problems, we didn’t have to pretend anything. I don’t know how we would have been able to actually hide our financial disaster, but I can imagine how stressful that would have been. This one requires letting go of your pride. To let others in means to truly be vulnerable. To say, like we did, We screwed up and are in big financial trouble. This is what’s going on. We’re committed to turning this into a good thing some how. We let them into our lives and into our “plan.”
A huge benefit to allowing others in? They have really good advice. Things you wouldn’t think of on your own, necessarily. They send you links to articles that have a wealth of information you need. They put you in touch with people who can help. They share their own stories about their tough times that not only allows you to feel better, but give you hope that if they made it through, you will too.
4. Have Fun: Just because you are facing losing everything, doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. This is so important. Yes, we were working our butts off. I had two jobs at one point. We were doing everything we could think of to market the house which included constant cleaning. We didn’t have discretionary funds. But we still had fun. We went for walks. Discovered new parks. Bob competed in the Grilled Cheese Invitational . We watched shows on Hulu. We went to the beach. Hiked in the mountains. Sat by the fire. Had friends over. We had fun. We were committed to being happy even in foreclosure. In this kind of a pact, fun is a key ingredient.
5. Exercise: I am prone to anxiety. When I was a kid I used to think I had a breathing problem. At least that’s what I would tell my parents when it felt like my lungs were incapable of fully expanding: “I think I have a breathing problem.” Well, I discovered that ‘breathing problem’ was actually anxiety. The best cure for anxiety – in my experience- is exercise. It’s hard because the more stressed I get, the less time I have for exercise. But if I don’t, I am only setting myself up for anxiety. Exercise helped me so much through one of the most stressful times of my life.
6. Daily Checkpoints: Every morning when we walked the Pug we would talk about what we would do that day. What we were committed to accomplishing and what we were going to work on personally. Some days I’d wake up so overwhelmed I didn’t want to have this conversation. Luckily on those days, Bob was on the other side (and vice versa.) He would talk me through it. We’d start with ‘clearing out the cobwebs’ before we would talk about our goals for the day. Then, at the end of the day we would recap. How did it go? Did we do what we said we would do? If not, what was in the way? What did we learn and what can we be grateful for? This might sound like it would require a very long conversation, but we were actually able to go through this in about ten minutes. The days we did this always went better than the ones we didn’t. You can create a pact, a vision statement so to speak, but it doesn’t live on its own. It requires constant re-presencing or it will die. Our pact to be our best, turn this crisis into the opportunity of our lives and be happy in the process needed daily care to thrive.
7. Make a Difference for Others: Have you ever noticed that when you have your attention on the well-being of others, you’re less worried about yourself? Well, I have. Bob and I met doing a 500-mile bike ride for charity. On that ride we both talked about how much easier the ride was when we were cheering others on. We’d be at the top of a hill before we realized how difficult the climb was when we were cheering other riders up the hill. The same is true in life. We’re all in this together. And there are so many with great need. In the midst of our foreclosure battle, we collected donations and went on a bus trip down to Mexico to visit an orphanage with a non-profit organization Corazon de Vida. Getting outside of ourselves and focusing on others made such a huge difference. It really puts things in perspective!
8. Believe: (insert cliche here.) I don’t know how to bring this point home without sounding completely cliche. But in the midst of a crisis, you must believe. Believe in your own strength to pull through. Believe that things will improve. Believe that you’ll be stronger for surviving. Believe that you are not alone. I voted for Barack Obama. I was inspired – and still am- by his stand for humanity. By his willingness to stand for and speak about belief and the power it holds. As he said during his campaign: “I’m asking you to believe. Not just in my ability to bring about change in Washington… I’m asking you to believe in yours.”