Posts Tagged ‘MSNBC’

One Thing Radio Has That Everybody Else Wants

liveEvery day radio DJs and talk hosts do something that strikes fear into others…

They crack a mic and talk to thousands of people at one time “live.”

That’s right, “live!” and without a net (other than a 7-second delay for dumping curse words.)

I can hear your sarcastic mumbling from here, “Woo hoo! Wowzers. Big deal, buddy. Why’s that something to write about?”

Well, it turns out people like “live” and radio has it in droves. However, for some reason we are taking this huge attribute and for the most part scuttling it.

Meantime, others are scrambling to capitlize on “live.”

knock-knock-liveRyan Seacrest is building an empire on “live.” He has “live” voting on American Idol and “live” performances, a “live” radio show (sometimes replayed and repackaged), a “live” countdown to New Year’s Eve and tonight he launches a new TV show called, “Knock! Knock! Live.” It’s billed by Fox TV as “the show where anything can and will happen.” They can say that because it is “live.”

“Live” is more thrilling. It makes it more dangerous, more daring, and more exciting. Though somehow radio doesn’t feel that way. We no longer view “live” as special, so our listeners don’t either and I believe that’s a mistake.

But even more than how it feels, “live” creates an instant community of people experiencing something at the same time. It makes it more special because we aren’t just watching or listening to something, we are bearing witness to it. There is something powerful to having a shared experience. Media companies of all shapes and sizes get that and are trying their best to capture it.

It is in fact one of the cornerstones of Apple Music’s Beats1 channel. It’s a shared, global, listening experience. It’s “live” from London, New York, and L.A. and you are listening “live” wherever you are anywhere and everywhere in the world.

After a successful and funny “live” show in the spring, NBC renewed the fairly average sit-com “Undateable” for 13 episodes this fall with the caveat that all the episodes are broadcast “live.” Let us not forget the enduring success of Saturday Night Live.

TV and radio networks also spend hundreds of millions of dollars for the rights to “live” sporting events, because historically those are the most watched and listened to events – ever.

Tom Leykis has a bit called “Be Funny Live” on his New Normal Network internet radio show and it is so successful he created a sold-out event at a comedy club around the premise.

You can listen to your favorite band or artist on your device as often as you want, but seeing them “live” is light years better.

What’s the attraction to Periscope? It’s “live” video that you can interact with in real-time.

“Live” tweeting events and pre-recorded shows is almost more entertaining and enjoyable than the actual event or show.

I could go on…

At this very moment in time when “authenticity” is one of radio’s buzzy buzz words, the industry has a real opportunity to own the “where anything can happen” moniker. Unfortunately, we seem so restricted by our companies, brands, managers, and stock holders that rarely anything does. And the audience doesn’t anticipate that it will.


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Video Blog: Interviewing 101 – Why This Guest?

Conducting a great interview is difficult. Generally there are no bad guests only bad interviewers. What I will attempt to do over the course of time is impart some wisdom that I’ve acquired over the course of time to help make all talent, in any format better interviewers. The first lesson revolves around the question – “Why?” Why is this person a guest on your show?

T.K.O. – Olbermann Ego or Ignorance?

November 6, 2010 1 comment

There are lessons to be learned from Keith Olbermann who is suspended indefinitely for violating the NBC News Division ethics policies by making political contributions to three democratic races. 

Lesson #1: Read the ethics policy at your company. If you don’t know what it is or wonder if you’ve signed one – ask your boss or HR department.

Talent at operations like NBC, CNN, ESPN, and others are required to read and sign acknowledgement of the companies ethic’s policies. My experience is that most talent sign without reading. It’s critical to know what can land you in trouble with your company. In this case, and knowing what a smart guy he is, I believe that it is likely Keith was very aware of the policies, but disregarded them intentionally, not to be a rebel, but because his personal convictions and passions trump all. This is not the first time Keith’s ego has landed him in hot water. The shame in all of this is Olbermann could have a signed a waiver disclosing the contributions to G.E. in advance and wouldn’t have gotten in trouble.

Lesson #2: All talent are replaceable

In a blink of an eye a company will yank a talent off air, if they aren’t in line with the brand or if their ethics are publicly called into questions. We see this all the time in radio. ESPN Radio has done this in several markets where top ranked talent were not renewed based on brand management and not ratings. Think before you act and always ask yourself, “Am I willing to lose my job over this?” If the answer is yes, then all bets are off.

Lesson #3: The more popular you become, the more people try to tear you down.

Keith Olbermann is a polarizing and popular host. His detractors are far more outspoken than his supporters and, because of that, people are always looking for ways to humiliate, embarrass, and punish him. In this case, was first to uncover the campaign contributions and Olbermann, wisely, confirmed the report.

Lesson #4: Own your actions.

The real honorable part of this story is that Keith didn’t try to hide or lie about what he did. When confronted, he went on the record and confirmed the report. He is keeping a low profile and letting others debate if the punishment fits the crime. By doing this, he’s become a more sympathetic character. There are petitions flying around the internet to get him back on the air and his cohorts at MSNBC are coming to his defense.

Two interesting side notes to this story…

1. In the wake of the mid-term election, where the democrats were slaughtered,  everyone is talking about left-leaning MSNBC.  

2. By announcing these violations against NBC News Department’s ethics policies, NBC has inadvertently characterize Olbermann as a journalist and “newsman” in direct conflict with my opinion of him as a commentator and entertainer. I always thought of Olbermann as more of a Walter Winchell not a Walter Cronkite.

Fox News “Election Free Friday”

November 5, 2010 1 comment

Huh? That doesn’t make any sense. Why would Fox News stop talking about this election?

One anchor said, “I’m just sick of talking about the Tea Party and Obama. Frankly, I’d rather talk about the top five teachers of all time.”

Okay, if you haven’t figured it out yet, this is made up. Smart people at Fox News, CNN, MSNBC and others have decided no matter how much they’ve talked about, opined, dissected and interviewed experts, you can’t talk enough about the election. But, for whatever reason, in sports radio our hosts arbitrarily decide they are sick of talking about Brett Favre, the Yankees, Tiger Woods, steroids, or whatever the “hit” of the day, week or month happens to be. I have heard hosts declare “Favre Free Fridays.” This is short-sighted. Your listeners are not as engrossed in the story as you are. They aren’t listening to you every day. They are craving more on these stories, your opinions and insights, and if you’re not talking about them they’re going to scan the dial until they find someone who is.

At the ESPN Radio Network, Programmer Pete Gianesini asks aloud if The Weather Channel would stop covering a hurricane after three days because they were tired of talking about it. I can imagine the meteorologist opening his weather report with, “This is a hurricane free Tuesday. I’m tired of hearing about Hurricane Henry, instead we’re going to focus on the partly sunny skies over Denver.”

Favre, Bonds, Woods, Yankees, and whatever the next big story is are “hurricanes” or “elections” for sports talk radio. Bust out the Sports Doppler 5000 and the panel of experts and break down these stories from the inside out. Be THE place for the BIG stories and not the place that ignores them.