Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Day the "Geeks" Stole Christmas!

The unthinkable happened on Christmas Eve, my home computer crashed! I diagnosed the problem and determined that it was the power supply that had failed.

I patiently waited until the day after Christmas and went to the nearby BestBuy on 90th and Shea and bought a replacement power supply first thing Friday morning. While in there I saw their Geek Squad department. I asked them If I could bring in the computer and have them replace the power supply for me if I had problems. They said they could and it would cost fifty dollars.

I took the new power supply home, mounted it into the computer and then got thoroughly confused on where the half dozen or so cables went to. Instead of sitting down and reading the directions, I decided I was going to give my self a holiday present and take the computer back to the "Geeks" at BestBuy and have them install it for me. That is when the nightmare compounded!

I brought the computer to them, I had already opened the case and mounted the power supply. All they had to do was connect the wires. The first thing I noticed when I got there was a sense of arrogance by the "Geeks". They told me that they would first have to clean the computer before they installed the power supply. That cost an additional twenty dollars added to the fifty that it was going to cost for the install. I was not happy but saw that I did not have a choice and agreed to the frivolous up-charge. When asked when I could expect the computer back they were ambivalent and said they were not sure but that I should have it within 24 hours.

I went home and late in the afternoon I received a call and email from the Geeks. My computer was ready.

This will come as no surprise to you, Fran was out shopping. I called her and asked her if she could pick the computer up on her way home. She said no problem. An hour later, she called from BestBuy. They would not release the computer to her. They said she needed the receipt. She asked if they could put me on the phone to authorize it? They said no and were quite rude to her.

At around six-thirty Firday night I made it back to BestBuy and picked up the computer. Took it home, plugged it in checked my email and updated some software which required that I restart the computer. To my surprise, the computer would not restart. The power was on, but it would not boot up. Not Happy!!!!

I unplugged all the cables and went back to BestBuy and talked to the arrogant "Geeks". They looked at the computer and said that the CPU fan was bad, the CPU was overheating and was shutting down the system. I told them that I thought that it was strange that before they cleaned the computer everything was working fine and now the fan is bad. They could care less and would take no responsibility for the fan going bad. I think that when they cleaned the computer with their compressed air something lodged in the fan motor causing it to fail. I asked them if they had a fan to replace it with and they said no and that I should go to Fry's electronics and get one and if I wanted they could install it for me for an additional sixty dollars.

I'm getting unhappier as the moments pass. On the bright side, Jude one of the "Alien Geeks" was actually compassionate towards my cause, he was pleasant and helpful, he tried to resurrect the fan but could not. He was nice enough to remove the fan for me so I could take it to Fry's and get it replaced.

A Breath of Fresh Air:

I came home called the Fry's in Tempe to see what time they would be open until and if they had the part. When I called the young man that answered the phone said they closed in fifteen minutes at nine pm. He could not have been nicer of more helpful. He checked his inventory and saw that they did not have the part in stock but had it online and at their Phoenix store, the cost was ten dollars. He gave me the skew number and said I could order it online and have it ready for pickup in Phoenix first thing in the morning. My plan was to pick up the part, return home and install it myself. This was a project that I felt I could handle.

I went online, ordered the part and was off to Fry's first thing Saturday morning. When I arrived I was greeted by an associate who directed me to the checkout line to pick up the fan. I decided that I would walk around the store for a while and look at all the computers, electronics, gadgets, software and more before I checked out.

In my travels through the store, I saw that Fry's has their own tech support and repair service similar to BestBuy. I stopped by the counter and once again was greeted by a friendly associate. I recounted my nightmare to him and asked him if they could install the fan for me and how much it would cost. He said they could, it would cost thirty dollars (half of what the geeks wanted to charge me) and take about fifteen minutes. Oddly enough, the computer was still in the back of my car from the night before, I brought it in, picked up the part and had them install it for me.

When I came back fifteen minutes later the computer was ready, the associate plugged it on for me and showed me that it was working fine. My nightmare was now over.

Back in May I wrote about the great customer service that Fry's has. I learned my lesson, I should have gone to Fry's first. To me, BestBuy is just like the corner convenience store. You pay a premium and the customer service is lousy. Do yourself a favor, take the extra time and go to Fry's. They have great customer service, a larger inventory, better variety and their prices are the best in town.

The irony of the story is, I gave a few BestBuy gift cards as holiday presents this year. In retrospect, that is like putting coal in someone's stocking!

Learn from my mistake go to Fry's!!!!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Chinese Food on Christmas

With the holidays around the corner, I'm reminded of the first Christmas that I can remember. I must of been four or five and we lived in an apartment in Skokie, Illinois. What I remember most of all was that it was getting late (or at least it was late for me) and we were sitting in living room. My mother had left out milk and a sandwich for Santa Clause and my parents wanted me to go to bed. The next thing I know is that I hear bells jingling outside the window. My folks say you must get to bed so Santa Clause can come. I went to bed and remember waking up early the next morning, half the milk was gone and the sandwich had a bite taken out of it. I remember that Santa Clause brought me a big, red fire truck that year.

It wasn't until years later that I found out that their wasn't a Santa Clause and I discovered that the bells jingling were actually coming from my uncle Jay who was out side the window.

As the years went on and my brother and I got older, we did not celebrate Christmas, we celebrated Hanukkah. On Christmas day we would typically be with friends, go to the movies and either go to, or carry out Chinese food. That tradition has stuck and forty years later Fran and I do the same thing with the girls.

Imagine my delight the other day when Ellen Brown posted this video by Brandon Walker on facebook. Enjoy!

As long as we are in the Holiday spirit, Sydney and I were watching the movie This Christmas with Chris Brown. It was a cute movie. What I enjoyed the most was Chris Brown singing "This Christmas". This is my new favorite Christmas song.

Watch the music video here.

On a much more serious note, it is tough out there right now. Not only in the broadcasting industry but in just about every other industry as well. Radio consultant Jim Taszarek had a heart felt post in his "Daily News and Tips" email on November 25th.

The headline was "Layoffs and Thanksgiving". The message is just as powerful for the holidays as it was for Thanksgiving.

This is what Jim had to say.......

Want to feel good over Thanksgiving weekend? I know two anonymous heroes; a MM and a GM who didn't choose, but were required to lay off some people in the last couple months. One is having a Thanksgiving Dinner for them and their families. Another gave up frequent flyer miles for a former jock to see her mom. That is so cool.

If you're at a station that had recent layoffs, but you still have a gig, let's take a moment to discuss our departed brothers and sisters. Things they might be able to use . . .

A Call

Ideas for where to look for a gig.


Rides for kids


Borrowing a laptop

Car repair - but mostly . . .

Your Attention

Your Time

Your Concern

Your Friendship

Your Encouragement

This will help both of you to be grateful on Thanksgiving.

Sign up for Taz's news letter here. It is a must read for radio people.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Steve Dahl's Influence

I just read in the radio trades that Chicago radio personality Steve Dahl has been let go by CBS radio. He had been heard 5-9 a.m. weekdays on WJMK-FM 104.3 (Jack FM).

Steve Dahl was just starting out in Chicago radio when I was in finishing high school in 1978. Steve Dahl was one of the first "Shock Jocks" that I remember listening too.

Chicago Tribune media columnist Phil Rosenthal writes about Dahl's departure and the departure of other high profile / high paid media personalities in Chicago and around the country. A very interesting and insightful read. Read it here:

Here is another post by Phil Rosenthal. Read it here:
Here is the link to Steve Dahl's website.

Personally, I vividly remember driving with with my father somewhere listening to Dahl in the car (my choice not his) . Dahl was detailing a story about the tragic death of a young woman who had died during a love making session with her boyfriend. He went on to say that when the doctors performed the autopsy, they determined that she had choked to death and discovered a foreign substance in her throat (interesting). I remember the story, but don't remember how my father reacted. I was a bit embarrassed and am sure he was too. I was biting my tongue so I would not laugh hysterically. (Hey, what do you want? I was 18 and this was locker room humor at it's best)

Dahl was funny, topical, crude and he certainly new how to relate to a young male audience at the time.

Believe it or not, the car incident with my father in 1978 has helped me formulate some of the on-air philosophies that help guide me today. When targeting young males the content of the show is one thing. When targeting people that have young kids in the car with them, acceptable content is quite different. I suggest to our programmer and jocks on MEGA, an adult 25-54, family oriented station that we should not broadcast any content that would embarrass a parent while listening with their kids.

On the flip side, I also feel that parents have to take responsibility for what is acceptable to listen to as well. A case in point was just this week when I made the mistake of listening to POWER 98.3 in the morning while driving my eleven year old daughter to school. POWER is going through some imaging and programming changes and I wanted to hear what was going on.

The morning show was taking calls from listeners, asking them what happened to their first boy/girlfriend. A girl called in and said her old boyfriend had been in jail for a while and when he came out he was into tattoos and piercings. Today, he is a professional "Pecker Piercer". Funny bit, not appropriate for an eleven year old. Shame on me for listening to POWER with her in the car. Needless to say, I had to explain what a "Pecker Piercer" was. Embarrassing....

Back in my EDGE days, when we carried Howard Stern, I would listen to him in the morning while taking my oldest who at the time was four or five to daycare. One day, I heard a childs voice from the back seat say, "Daddy, that was a bad word"! Oops, that was the last time I listened to Howard with her in the car.

Both girls are probably scarred for life and will remember these incidents 30 years from now just like I remember Steve Dahl with my father...

Dahl could also be funny without being crude. After I moved to Arizona to attend ASU, Dahl gained notoriety for executing one of the best radio promotions I can ever remember. The Disco Demolition at Comisky Park, the former home of the Chicago White Sox. Dahl and the White Sox encouraged listeners to come to a Thursday night double header, bring a disco record and get in for ninety-eight cents. Dahl would blow the disco records up on the field in between the games. The promotion was a success, thousands of listeners turned out with their old disco records. When Dahl blew the records up, fans went crazy, they stormed the field and a small riot ensued. Game two of the double header was canceled. Not a great day for the White Sox organization, but an out of the park home run for Dahl and the radio station. This put Dahl and WLUP on the map.

The Chicago Tribune's Phere:

Also, there is a great entry in Wikipedia detailing what led up to the demolition, the promotion and the aftermath. Read the Wikipedia entry here:

Finally, Steve Dahl's wife Janet writes a blog titled Janet's Planet. In her most recent entry she writes about Steve and his departure from WCKG.

Here is an excerpt from her December 5th, 2008 entry...
It was a rough spot, but it had a happy ending. Many happy endings, really. The Loop, WLS am, WLS fm, The Loop again, AM 1000, WCKG, Jack. Every job had its personal challenges; Steve learned in every slot. He got crazy. He drank. He partied. He became a father. He grew up, grew wise, grew sober. With every year, his show evolved to reflect the man he was. He refused to be a fake personality. He couldn't do pranks. He grew tired of the old parody songs. His goal was to be a constant presence in the lives of his fans-a human being in a box, so to speak. It was his job to be an extended family member, a guy who gets to spin a story, comment on the vagaries of life, or laugh at its absurdity. He could give volume to Everyman's irritations. His financial goal was to get his boys through college- a goal refined by his own entry into radio at 16, armed with a GED and a dream. His determination to provide for his family guided him to CBS. It was acquiring Howard Stern, and Steve would be the afternoon Yang to his Ying. The rest is history. Done.
Janet gives you a rare insight into what it is like to be the wife of a radio personality. Read her entire December 5th post "The years spin by... " here: It is well worth the read.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Andrew Aswhood / "BJ Hunter"

Sad news out of Los Angeles last week, my friend Andrew Ashwood passed away. Andrew was putting up a strong and couageous fight against cancer but suffered a massive heart attack last week and did not recover. Andrew was only 51. Most recently he was the Vice President/General Manager & Executive Producer of the FOX Sports Radio Network

You may not know him by Andrew, but you may have known him as by his radio name, BJ Hunter. Andrew and I worked together in the 80's at KOOL AM & FM. He was the Program Director and Morning Drive jock and I was the Local Sales Manager.

We had a lot of good times together at KOOL. And there were a lot of GREAT radio stories from that time. I'll share a couple that can be published....

Andrew was an innovative PD who always had BIG ideas to get publicity for the station. As the wall was coming down in Germany, he decided that he wanted to do a live broadcast from Checkpoint Charlie at the border of East and West Berlin. It was the "Rock the Block" promotion. He came to me and asked me if I could trade the air fare and hotel for the trip. I said I would try, but if I did, I wanted to go on the trip. Needless to say, I was able to trade out a great hotel in Berlin and first class tickets on TWA for the trip. Ten of us packed our bags and were off to Berlin for the live broadcasts. A great promotion, lots of publicity for the station and a lot of fun. To this day, that trip is one of the highlights of my life.

A second story that is memorable, which my friend Bruce Olson our National Sales Manager at the time disputes, has to do with over selling commercials on the radio station. At that time in the 80's we were only running nine - ten commercials an hour. Bruce and I had a habit of over selling the station on the weekends. It was always a constant battle to get Andrew to allow us to run the extra spots. So we would have to plead with our General Manager to let us have the extra inventory. Ultimately, the GM would say, "BJ... just run the &^%$%* spots". The irony of this story is (and this is where Bruce and I disagree) that when we oversold the station it was to only twelve units an hour (Bruce thinks it was more like 20). Twelve units was a ton of spots back then, but is the norm or even on the light side today.

There were also, the limo's, the staff retreats, the KOOL Cafe, trips to Arbitron and a lot more. Andrew was a smart and innovative broadcaster and a fun guy to hang around with.

Here is the Obituary from the Arizona Republic...

Ashwood, Andrew
VP and GM of FOX Sports Radio, died of a heart attack November 13, 2008. He was 51. Once known as "BJ Hunter" in his days as a DJ at KWTI Milwaukee and KOOL FM in Phoenix, Andrew later became Program Director at WQAM Miami. A natural leader, Andrew took over as PD, and then Operations Manager, at News Radio 1200 WOAI in San Antonio, where he developed a passionate affinity for the Spurs. In 2003 he joined FOX Sports Radio where his "DARE to be Great" motto helped give the network direction as its affiliate base tripled in size. A lifelong Green Bay Packers fan, Andrew inspired co-workers and friends, constantly reminding them that "Winning is the Only Option," his unique adaptation of Vince Lombardi's "Winning is the Only Thing." Shortly after his 50th birthday, Andrew married the love of his life, Sandra. Unfortunately he was diagnosed with cancer 3 months later, and fought valiantly for a year and a half, before suffering a heart attack on Monday. Andrew's unwavering positive outlook on work, on sports, and on life, carried over into his fight with cancer as he promised it would never beat him. Ironically, it did not. Andrew is survived by his wife Sandra Ashwood, his mother Mrs. Helen Ashwood, three sisters, Ann Ashwood, Lorry Stiles and Amy Ashwood Checcinato. He is also survived by his nephews and nieces; Chris and Spencer Stiles, Rebecca, Zacary, Anthony, Hannah and Abby Piper, Andrea and Marta Checcinato. The family is extremely grateful to the staff at M.D. Anderson & City of Hope for their loving care of Andrew. Services will be held on Friday, November 21, 2008 @ 2:30 p.m. at Forest Lawn Mortuary, Old North Church 6300 Forest Lawn Dr., Los Angeles, CA 90068. In lieu of flowers, donations to 'City of Hope the Andrew Ashwood Fund' would be appreciated. Published in The Arizona Republic on 11/20/2008

Click here to see a tribute to Andrew by San Antonio Sports anchor Don Harris.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

What is a Cohort? It Must be a MBA Term...

Fran, I and the girls traveled to Tucson this weekend to witness the commencement ceremony for the Executive MBA 2008 graduates at The Univeristy of Arizona's Eller College of Management. Our friends Holly Capps and Kristi Staab were both graduating. It was a great honor for us to be there with their family's to celebrate this great accomplishment and watch them walk across the stage in their caps and gowns to receive their hard earned diplomas.

As you know, I like to include speeches on my blog that I think are particularly meaningful, insightful and enlightening.

Holly was chosen by her Tucson cohorts to deliver the student address. Holly hit it out of the park.... A Grand Slam! Her address gave us insight in to what it is like to be a successful and busy executive and study diligently for fourteen consecutive months to reach the milestone of obtaining an Executive MBA. Her comment's were entertaining, informative, addressed camaraderie and most importantly came from the heart.

This is what Holly had to say....

When people hear we are graduating, there is one typical response: “Already? Man, that went by so fast!”

Perhaps for those around us, the past 14 months did go by quickly. However, a lot can (and did) happen in those 14 months.

Here’s a sample of what happened to the Tucson cohort:

3 of us got engaged
2 of us got married
3 babies were born
2 of us lost loved ones
7 of us took new jobs
4 of us moved
1 of us had major surgery
1 of us became an American citizen
2 of us got glasses
6 of us got stronger glasses
14 of us leave with more gray hair than we started with
9 of us leave with less hair
6 of us developed a nervous twitch or stutter
1 of us developed stress-induced Irritable Bowel Syndrome

And it’s not just our brains that got bigger in the program: collectively, we gained 169.38725 pounds.

When our class thinks about the best memories from our time together, many of us think about our International Trip – there can’t be a better way to see Bangkok and Shanghai then hanging out on buses and planes with 60 of our closest friends. As you’ve probably guessed, we shared many laughs together – some at entertaining professors, some caused by late nights and stress, and most of it at our own expense. We laughed when we figured out the professors and staff were all included on our class email list. We laughed when group presentations went…well…less than perfect – we labeled those times “learning opportunities for the rest of the class.” We laughed about professors, our mistakes and our gaffes. We laughed in McClelland Hall, at the Marriot, at Gentle Bens and at the Dubliner. Bottom line: we laughed. And we laughed together.

Top 14 things we learned during the Eller Executive MBA program, at no additional charge:
14. It is totally possible to pull a fast one using Generally Accepted Accounting Principles.

13. We can become intolerant and crabby when we’re deprived of sleep over a period of say…oh, I don’t know…14 months.

12. Time in the restroom can be vital to reading your homework. Don’t be ashamed to take it with you.

11. Your colleagues are the best resources you can get. Some of them have great ideas and others serve as shining beacons of what NOT to do.

10. No matter how much you try, you may not get everything done to your complete satisfaction. You have to learn to accept the best you can do in the time you have to spend, and move on.

9. Multi-tasking: We can eat, study, eat, participate in class, eat lunch, go for a walk to the 7-11, eat while listening to lectures, break for a snack, listen to more lectures and head out for dinner. What an expansive skill set!

8. It is totally possible to be stressed out and enlightened at the same time.

7. Chickens prefer contacts over spectacles.

6. Averages are useless: With one hand in boiling water and the other hand in ice water, on average, I am comfortable.

5. Pirate jokes…lots and lots of pirate jokes.

4. It is far more painful to have a hangover during MBA classes than it was in undergrad classes.

3. You don’t have to pay taxes on things you launch into space.

2. We can do more and push ourselves farther than we ever thought possible.

1. Most everything in business is a guess.

As you’ve probably noticed, we’ve picked up a few new vocabulary words along the way. You’ll be hearing them often…we’ve paid a lot to get them and they make us feel smarter. Here is a small sample of our favorite new words and phrases:

• Arbitrage
• Pedagogical
• Value proposition
• Iteration
• Launch the biscuit
• Photovoltaic
• Pro forma
• Greenfield & brownfield
• Ideating, which is followed by winnowing
• Open the kimono
• Fungible
• Sunk cost
• Pivot Table
• Extracting consumer surplus

And my favorite new vocabulary word:

• Cohort – they started calling us that on the first day of the program
  • Definition: a group of subjects with a common defining characteristic
  • But over the last 14 months, we learned what it really means: “those who will stick by you through good times and bad” or in short “family”

Job well done!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I'm Going Green

Last week our dryer broke. We were in a bit of a panic. You can only imagine how much laundry accumulates when you live in a house with three women. The laundry was piling up as we were waiting for for the repairman to come out and fix it.

Then it dawned on me. We live in Arizona and it is HOT out side. What do we need a dryer for? We have our own Solar dryer in the backyard and it doesn't break down and it is extremely energy efficient.

I was reminded of the days when I was a little kid and used to visit my grandparents here in Cave Creek. My grandmother had a washer but no dryer. She would hang everything up on the clothes line behind her house. The warm breeze coming off the mountain would dry the clothes. Then there were the summer vacations on the lake in Wisconsin and my mother would hang up all of our clothes to dry. Most recently, we were in Italy and every where you went people hung their clothes up to dry.

If it was good enough for my mother, grandmother and the Italians, then it is good enough for me. We don't have a clothes line in the backyard but we do have a pool fence that goes the length of yard. It is a modern day clothes line.

Jordie and I did the laundry, took it out of the washer, threw it in the basket, walked out in the yard and started hanging up the laundry on the pool fence. All of the jeans and towels were neatly draped over the top of the fence, the shirts, blouses and t-shirts were put on hangers and looped over the top of the fence, underwear and socks were on top of the fence as well. The only problem I had was that the wind blew some underware and socks into the pool, I will have to get clothes pins next time!

Interestingly enough, it took about the same amount of time to dry as it would in the dryer. The clothes smelled fresh (no fabric softener) and since half of the clothes were already on hangers, time was saved in the long run because I did not have to take the shirts out of the dryer and hand them up.

Most importantly, I was doing my part in conserving energy!

If it were up to me, I'd forget about the dryer and not repair it. I'm sure I would get a bit of resistance from Fran and the girls.

Four hundred and seventy dollars later our four year old, state of the art, computerized, digital GE dryer has a new motor in it. Fran and the girls are happy. I've decided to go GREEN and let nature dry my clothes.

All kidding aside, I have become more energy contentious this past year. There is a great channel on cable called PlanetGreen started by the discovery network. Check them out and check out their website here. We all need to do our part to conserve.

I'm driving a Honda and hanging my laundry out to dry.... It's a start!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Marketing Lessons From Barack Obama

I'm sure as time goes on there are going to be a lot of articles, books, blogs etc. written about how Barack Obama won the election.

Today, Fred Jacobs had an insightful post titled "Taking It Personal" about how the Obama campaign embraced personality and warmth combined with digital technology including email and text messages to intimately reach out to his supporters.

If you were an email or text subscriber to the Obama campaign you periodically received personal messages from Barack Obama and other members of the campaign keeping you up-to-date.

Read Fred's post here:

I also read an article today in this weeks Ad Age by renowned marketing expert and author Al Reis detailing how Barack Obama and his campaign out positioned all of his opponents in this years election.

He says that .....

"Nov. 4, 2008, will go down in history as the biggest day ever in the history of marketing. Take a relatively unknown man. Younger than all of his opponents. Black. With a bad-sounding name. Consider his first opponent: the best-known woman in America, connected to one of the most successful politicians in history. Then consider his second opponent: a well-known war hero with a long, distinguished record as a U.S. senator. It didn't matter. Barack Obama had a better marketing strategy than either of them".


Reis identifys key factors that he felt led to the marketing victory.

1. Develop the ultimate slogan and stick with it.
2. Simplicity - Keep it simple. Obama Chose "Change"
3. Consistency - Tell the voters over and over again what you are about. In Obama's case, "Change"
4. Relevance

Read the entire article here:

Obama's strategists and advisers would make great consultants for radio stations. They get it! They have taken basic customer service principals along with a strategic positioning statement, then integrated them into a viral, interactive marketing campaign. You know what the results are. Broadcasters, advertisers and marketers can learn from Obama's victory.

Old Technology vs. New Technology

At MEGA we brand ourselves as "Old School". It doesn't get any more Old School than this! You've got to watch this video. It is great. Thanks to Clayton for passing it on to me.

Monday, November 3, 2008

The BEAT...... The Valley's Classic Hip Hop....

At 9:27am this morning we launched The BEAT on 92.7, 99.3, 101.1 and 93.5 in Flagstaff. Needless to say, we are all very excited about our ground breaking new format. The response we have gotten from listeners and clients has been spectacular.

Here is the press release that was sent out this morning announcing the new station.

(480) 994-9100 Office


The BEAT Debuts on KNRJ FM Playing Classic Hip Hop Music for Valley Listeners.

November 3rd, 2008 (SCOTTSDALE, AZ) – Sierra H Broadcasting is proud to welcome 92.7/99.3 The BEAT to the Valley! The first radio station of its kind anywhere, The BEAT will feature the pioneers of Hip Hop. Including the Sugarhill Gang, Jay-Z, Kurtis Blow, Outkast, Run DMC, Notorious B.I.G., Grandmaster Flash, Doctor Dre., LL Cool J, 2Pac, The Beastie Boys, Snoop Dogg and everything in between! The best Hip Hop over the last 30 years finally has a radio home in Arizona on 92.7/99.3 The BEAT!

The BEAT is a music intensive radio station that plays only the biggest Hip Hop Classic hits from the 80’s and 90’s! The BEAT is about good times, parties, friends, family and lots of fun!

“The BEAT is truly something unique for listeners across Arizona,” said Beau Duran, Program Director of The BEAT. “For the first time ever, all of the great hip hop that Generation X grew up with will have a home on one radio station. This is the start of a new national trend!”

“This is what listeners want to hear and we are excited give it to them,” said Michael Mallace, General Manager of The BEAT. “The BEAT is a perfect compliment both musically and demographically to MEGA 104.3 our heritage Old School station. The BEAT will provide a great avenue for advertisers who want to reach the active 25-40 year old consumers.”

The BEAT covers the Phoenix metropolitan area on 92.7/99.3 and 101.1 FM and can also be heard in Flagstaff and Northern Arizona on 93.5 FM. These four different signals expose millions of Arizonans to the pioneers of Hip Hop.

Sierra H Broadcasting is a privately held, locally owned and operated corporation that operates two radio stations, KAJM-FM and KNRJ-FM, in the Phoenix metro area. With translators throughout the state, these two formats: The BEAT 92.7/99.3/101.1 – “The Valley’s Classic Hip Hop” and Mega 104.3 – “Arizona’s Old School Station,” also entertain listeners throughout Northern Arizona including the Flagstaff, Payson, Prescott and Sedona communities. The BEAT and MEGA can be heard world wide on the web at and

For more information, visit “The BEAT” at


Saturday, November 1, 2008

As Much As Things Change... Nothing Changes At All

When I was a kid in high school, I was very fortunate. Our high school, New Trier West in Northfield, Illinois had a 100 watt FM radio station. It covered a large part of the north shore of Chicago. The friendships that were fostered at WNTH 88.1 FM in the mid 70's have continued for more than 30 years. We were a bunch of guys that had one thing in common. We ate, drank, breathed and slept the radio station, sometimes at the expense of our classes and grades, to our parents dismay. We were passionate, we wanted to learn about radio and broadcasting we had a love of music, electronics and most of all, we wanted to have fun!

Through the years we have all gone off in different directions and careers. Some still live in the Chicagoland area and some of us have moved out west. What is so special is that we have maintained our friendship through the years.

At this point, I must note that I am the youngest of the group. I will turn 49 this month. The majority of the guys have already turned 50 or are turning 50 this year. With that said, we thought it would be great if we all got together in Las Vegas for a weekend to celebrate everyones 50th birthday. A mini high school reunion if you will. We have done this periodically through the years and always have a good time.

This year it was no different but a bit more symbolic. As I get older, I get a little more sentimental as I cherish the times we all get together. We had the big weekend last week. Telling you that it was a great time would be an understatemt. It is hard to explane because we really did not do anything that was out of the ordinary except share each others company.

I'll share some hightlights in a minute.

First, a little insight into the group.... There were nine of us. The group from Chicago included Alan who travels around the country and the world selling electronic components, Loren who is an attorney specializing in realestate, Steve who is a doctor (MD), Kenny is a financial adviser and Bill is a CPA, accounting software consultant and now a pain (back) management specialist. Roger and Scott came from Southern California. Scott manufactures dance shoe's and costumes for dance schools around the world and Roger is a voice actor / actor and producer in Los Angeles. Tom came in from Portland and he is the former Chief Engineer of a number of television stations and now runs a media monitoring business in the Portland Area.

On with the story... We met and stayed at the Paris hotel in Vegas on Friday evening. We all look the same, some of us a little heavier, some of us with gray hair, some of us with no hair and then some of us with all of the above! We had drinks and caught up at the bar. Scott had arranged for us to go see Elton John that night. How symbolic was that? When we were growing up Elton John was at the top of his game, his "Good By Yellow Brick Road" album was one of the biggest albums of the 70's and we played Elton John songs all the time on WNTH. The concert was great! We came full circle! As a side note, both Loren and I agreed that "Grey Seal" off the "Good By Yellow Brick Road" album is one of our favorites!

The next day we did things that we would never do if we were with our wife and kids. We went to the Atomic Testing Museum and then went to an indoor shooting range where you could shoot just about any type of handgun or riffle. I didn't shoot, but I was the official photographer. There were some very interesting people at the target range! All and all a great day. It was capped off by a relaxing couple of hours at the pool hanging out in the jacuzzi and in lounge chairs talking and picking up where we had left off the last time we were all together.

Growing up we would hang out, go to the movies and always end up the night having pizza some where. The places I remember were Jakes, Carvelle, Yesterdays and Barnaby's. It was fitting that we went out for a nice Italian dinner. Once again, Scott came through and suggested that we go to Il Mulino at the Forum shops at Ceasar's.

A fabulous choice! This could be one of the best Italain restaurants I've ever eaten at. Instead of stuffing our faces with pizza, we were gorging ourselves with fine northern Italian cuisine. Back in the day we would share cheese, peperoni, sausage and veggie pizzas. At Il Mulino we were sharing Grana Padano (cheese), bruschetta, garlic breads, country bread, focaccia, chicken Parmesan, veal, ravioli, shrimp fish and more. And just like 30 years ago we told stories laughed and had a great time.

One of the more comical and telling events of the evening was right at the beginning after we sat down. The waiter brought over the menus. It was so dark and the printing was so small on the menu that none of us could see. We all had to borrow Steve's pocket L.E.D penlight so we could see what to order. I guess our eyes are not what they used to be. As always, Steve was prepared and there to save the day!

I have known these guys for more than half my life and I realized a few things. First, it doesn't matter how long it has been since we have seen each other or spoken, we just pick up where we left off the last time. And for as much as everything changes, nothing really changes at all.

When I got home, I looked at the girls and see them with all of their friends. I wonder who they will be friends with 30 plus years from now. I only hope that they are as lucky as I have been.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A New Foramt For KNRJ

Here is a copy of a letter sent to listeners about the upcoming changes for KNRJ. Click Here:

I hope everyone will be listening on November 3rd to hear what we do next!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

What You Learn In College Can Go A Long Way

I remember many years ago sitting in a college economics class. The professor explained that one of the most important things about going to college was the experience. You learn how to think and become more worldly and your able to be thrust into any situation and hold your own.

At twenty years old I didn't quite grasp the concept entirely. It was not until I was out in the work force and into my sales career that his thoughts crystallized with me and started to make sense.

The RAB posted a sales tip from
business author/consultant Jonathan Farrington in their "Radio Sales Today" email. It's titled "You Have to Sell Yourself". I think this is what my college professor was talking about.

Today, I get it!!!

"Just as you are selling to people, you must also remember that you are not only selling and representing a product or service, but you are in effect selling yourself.

When beginning a sales relationship, it is important to remember a few key aspects to representing yourself well. First, be interesting. If potential customers are bored by you, they have less of a chance of being enthralled by any product or service you are representing.

Develop intellect. Of course, you are an intelligent person, but can you converse in an intelligent manner? Can you discuss related subjects with thoughtfulness and hold your clients' interest?

Never be arrogant -- never talk up or down to your potential clients. It's rude and will serve only to alienate them. Respect the buyer, and they will respect you.

Along the same lines, develop your empathy levels. If you can relate to your customers' situations authentically, it helps to build rapport.

Finally, control your ego levels. A good salesperson is patient and respectful, not an egomaniac."
In sales, you have to be confident yet humble, knowledgable, inquisitive and carry yourself well. I can't help but think that my economics professor was right!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Do The Right Thing... Be Righteous

I am not a theologian or a deeply religious person. Far from it. Although, I feel that I am very spiritual. I also feel that to be a good (fill in the blank with your religious preference or affiliation) requires that you simply be a good person.

Throughout my life, both personally and professionally, I have always endeavored to do what I believe to be the "right thing". This is a concept that was impressed upon me as a child growing up by my parents and one that Fran and I impress on our girls as well.

Fran, I and the girls went to Temple last week to celebrate Yom Kippur. Rabbi Rony Keller delivered a very thoughtful sermon addressing the extraordinary economic times we are in and how to react to them by being righteous. This is one of those sermons, like Mr. Muller's commencement speech that I wrote about earlier this summer that transcends all people. It does not matter what your faith is, Rabbi Keller's sermon is very powerful and resonates by putting things in perspective. At least it does for me!

Yom Kippur Morning
Sermon Presented By:

Rabbi Rony Keller
Congregation Beth Israel, Scottsdale, Arizona

"If I were a rich man…

I know that you might not be able to tell from my singing but I did play Tevye in the JP Taravella high school production of Fiddler on the Roof.

Those very familiar words to a popular book, play, and movie speak volumes to us. When Tevye the Dairyman sang that song in Fiddler, he was passionate, he was hopeful, and he was desperate. Tevye was the head of a family of seven people. He worked hard, and he worked tirelessly to ensure that his family had what they needed to survive. It wasn’t easy and sometimes it was scary, but Tevye and his family somehow made ends meet.

As you might recall in the film, Tevye spoke about wealth. He dreamed of a big house and the fineries in life; but throughout the film his intentions were always good. He sought to better his life and the lives of his family and ultimately he wanted time, time to pray and give back to his community. So what’s wrong with being rich he’d ask?

What’s wrong with being rich is an excellent question. The answer is that there is absolutely nothing wrong with being rich. The problem arises when rich isn’t good enough, when wealth needs to equal power, and when greed settles in.

As you know the United States has had a less that stellar month financially.
I think many will recall that IndyMac, the largest mortgage lender in the US collapsed due to tighter credit, falling home prices and rising foreclosures. Lehman Brothers was the next institution to declare bankruptcy, followed by the government bailout of AIG.

Times are difficult for everyone. Our investments have been compromised, our nest egg dented, and our trust in the financial system severely tested. The New York Times reported that the American economy lost 159,000 jobs in the month of September alone. Although the recently passed “bailout’plan may stabilize some parts of the economy, most reports say....well it’s better than nothing. It’s challenging to hear that we are currently living through the most devastating financial crisis since the great depression or perhaps ever. What does that mean? How do we cope? What should we do?

When we sat here last year, reading the Yom Kippur liturgy, most of us would not have guessed that we would be in this dire financial situation. It seems that our economy has been as shaky as a Fiddler on the Roof. A lot can change in a year, some of us have lost our jobs, many can’t sell our homes, and we all have difficulty filling up our gas tanks. The Unetaneh Tokef reminds us of the question: Who shall be poor and who shall be rich?”

The answer to that question is unknown, but this prayer reminds us that Repentance, Prayer, and Tzedakah temper judgments severe decree! These three pillars: repentance, prayer, and tzedakah create the foundation for our year. Two of the three are internal: when we repent, no one knows the sincerity in which we introspect, and when we pray, no one knows the true internal meditations of our hearts. However, when we engage in tzedakah we physically do something.

The brilliance of the word tzedakah is its grammatical root, tzedek which means righteousness. So, tzedakah doesn’t just mean charity, it’s much more.... it’s a righteous act! When we are righteous in our actions then we can make a difference in the world.

If everyone acted with righteousness the world would undoubtedly be a better place. Imagine if everyone in your life acted righteously: the postal worker, your drug company, the fast food employee, your investment broker, your hairdresser, your bank president, your mechanic, and your insurance company. How would our daily lives be different if everything we said and did was righteous; every meeting and action we performed was based in righteousness.

In this morning’s haftarah, the prophet Isaiah is yelling at us! He’s speaking to us about our fast. Through his message God tells us to cease our empty thoughts, and to stop our meaningless acts of going through the motions Isaiah says (Isaiah 58:6-8):

This is not the fast that God wants from you, a fast just to afflict yourselves; instead God wants you to share your bread with the hungry, and to bring the poor into your house? When you see the naked, clothe them.

In other words Isaiah is telling us that the passive act of simply fasting because we have to, simply going through the motion of not eating will not bring us any closer to redemption. God doesn’t want us to needlessly starve just as a physiological exercise. Our fast is futile if it’s just an empty act that we do for Yom Kippur. The fast that God wants is much more complex. God is seeking true introspection in our repentance, focused intent in our prayer, and selfless action in our tzedakah. God is seeking righteousness.

Yes it’s beautiful that we brought in thousands of pounds of groceries today, and it’s wonderful that we remember to temper judgments decree with repentance, prayer, and tzedakah today on Yom Kippur, but what about tomorrow? What about the rest of the year; 3 days from now won’t our friends need our repentance, 3 weeks from now won’t God need our prayers, and 3 months from now won’t our community need our tzedakah?

In these tricky financial times, righteousness is even more elusive. When we are facing hard times personally, it’s difficult to think of others. When we are worried about our own homes,
investments, and expenses, how can we be expected to worry about anyone outside of our own families?

Rabbi David Wolpe writes in his book Floating Takes Faith,’Jewish law mandates that even a beggar who receives tzedakah must in turn give tzedakah, for it is important for all of us to feel that we have something to give. But what of people who truly have nothing? Tzedakah is often material, but not always. We give tzedakah when we share our imagination, our efforts, and our love. Tzedakah is the gift God expects us to give one another. Giving money, while essential,is only the beginning. Even the recipient must in turn give tzedakah. In other words, giving tzedakah is not a choice; it’s a mitzvah, commandment, and an obligation. Being righteous is our responsibility.

So, how can we be righteous during these difficult times? Maimonides a 13th century theologian explains, a tzaddik, a righteous person, is someone whose merit surpasses their iniquity. According to this definition everyone sitting in this room can be righteous! We don’t need to save the world・ighteousness can be achieved in small everyday actions. Make tzedakah a habit.

Every time we go shopping we can buy two or three additional items and drop them in a separate bag in our pantry・hen the bag is full, donate it. Did you know that there is a donation bin right in the rotunda at Beth Israel? Every time you come to the synagogue for religious school, pre- school, services, or an event, bring an item and drop it in the bin. We can also find a comfortable percentage of our annual salary to donate. Collect your loose change from each week and give away the sum at the end of the month. Sign-up to Race for the cure this weekend with Beth Israel. Volunteer at a food pantry, retirement home, school, or shelter. Don’t just give charity; that’s easy.... be righteous!

We can keep ourselves focused by creating a daily righteousness checklist:

• Did my merits outweigh my iniquities today?

• Did I make someone’s life a little bit sweeter?

• Did I judge myself without judging others?

• Did I help someone today without expecting anything in return?

• Did I act with integrity?

During the opening song from Fiddler on the Roof, the following conversation takes place:

Nachum: the beggar says [begging] Alms for the poor! Alms for the poor!
Lazar Wolf: the butcher replies- Here, Nachum, here's one kopeck.
Nachum: One kopeck? Last week, you gave me two kopecks!
Lazar Wolf: answers I had a bad week.
Nachum: responds, So? If YOU had a bad week, why should I suffer?

Just because we have a bad day, week, or month, it does not mean that we can cease acting righteously. When we are righteous in giving tzedakah, and finding ways to temper judgments severe decree, the question of who shall be poor and who shall be rich is less significant. It’s easy to be righteous when it’s Yom Kippur- we’re sitting here and fasting. Be righteous when it’s difficult, be righteous when others aren’t - in the words of Rabbi Hillel: in a place where there is no righteous person, endeavor to be that person."
Print a copy of Rabbi Keller's Sermon here:

My Own Crisis

I'm a gadget guy. In my opinion one of the greatest inventions of our time is the Digital Video Recorder (DVR). We had to add a second one in our house because the girls would use the one in the living room and there was never enough space for Fran or I to record/watch our shows. Then for Valentines Day a couple of years ago Fran got me my own DVR for the bedroom so I could record my shows. Fran is so romantic!

This device is the best! The DVR allows us to watch what we want to. With our schedule, we never have the time to watch the television shows we enjoy when they originally air. We always "DVR" them. Then when we want, we play them back at our convenience. Simple, right? 99% of the time it is unless you are a pack rat like I am and forget to erase the shows that you have already watched. In fairness, there is a feature on the DVR that allows you to automatically erase shows, but I don't use it.

Enter my crisis. Boston Legal is one of my favorite shows on television. It is permanently programmed into the DVR to record every week. This past week, I started watching it on the DVR and it stopped sixteen minutes into the show. I was in a panic! How could this be? This has never happened before. I pressed all the buttons and see all the messages on the screen, then realize that I had run out of memory. A DVR stores everything on a giant hard drive (like a computer) and unfortunately, mine was full.

I then go through and erase everything that I don't think I will watch again and free up seventy-five percent of the hard drive in an effort to avert another disaster.

Problem solved? Not exactly. I was going through Boston Legal withdraw. In light of everything that has been going on in the world around us this was going to be my hour to escape, I felt deprived and had a bit of anxiety.

A couple of days later, I was talking about this with Fran and the girls. Sydney my youngest daughter, who I have mentioned before is our personal "IT" specialist, suggested that I go on line to and watch the show over the internet. Good suggestion. I went on online and sure enough it was there.

Thank goodness, we have COX high speed broadband! I was sitting in my home office watching it on my thirteen-inch Macbook book over the internet without it buffering once. At last, I was getting my weekly fix of Boston Legal and escaping for an hour. Now, this is not as good as laying in bed and watching it on my big screen HDTV (although, It sure is a great alternative).

Crisis averted!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Main Street meets our Street

One of my favorite things to do at the radio station is to meet with our current and potential new advertisers. With everything that has been going on in the economy, I have made it a priority to get out of the office as much as I can to meet with these people the last couple of weeks. Let me tell you what they are telling me. This is "Main Street" talking.

"Unprecedented are the words I keep hearing over and over again".
"Auto dealer's biz down 30% and they've never seen anything like this, Furniture biz worst in five years, restaurant biz very slow, personal health spa biz down 40%, travel biz down due to high airfare".
The adversity in the economy is not only impacting "Main Street" but it is impacting our streets!

At the radio stations, we are doing everything we can to provide effective and affordable advertising programs to help "Main Street" get through the bumps in the road.

As one advertiser said to me, "It is important for me to keep my name out there, when the economy turns around, I want them to remember me".

I think that we as broadcasters have a responsibility to help where we can.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

What You Can Learn From Your Kids Part 2

On August 13th I wrote a post about some interesting things I learned about cell phones, texting and social networking from my kids. Read that post here:

Yesterday I had another one of those seminal moments with my oldest daughter who is 14 (going on 22). It was just the two of us and we were running errands and then out to lunch at one of our favorite dives. Over hummus and Gyro sandwiches we started talking about politics, the candidates and current affairs. I was actually having and intelligent adult conversation with her, hearing about her political views and those of her friends. She had some interesting thoughts and ideas and asked some very bright questions. I was very proud of her. I have waited 14 years for this moment!

As a parent first, then a broadcaster and marketer I was very curious to know how and why she formed some of her opinions. To my surprise, she told me that she discusses this with her friends. I was impressed! We might have an activist or a politician in the making.

Then I realized, that with the advancement of digital media it has become increasingly easier for youth to find out what is going on in the world. I'm not suggesting that a 14 year old reads the drudgeReport, or Although, when they log onto their myspace and FaceBook accounts there are links to and ads for all of the candidates both nationally and locally. On the home page of there are news stories about the debates, the economy and they are also registering people to vote too. YouTube has section on the race as well called YouChoose where there is a wealth of information on all the candidates and videos of speaches, debates and more.

I can tell you that at 14 I was not as politically aware as kids are today. The information simply was not as easily available or even more importantly, targeted to me, either directly or indirectly as it is today.

Then, there are even more strategic websites like This is a website developed by the Jewish Council on Education and Research. The Great Schlep features a video by comedian Sarah Silverman that is targeted to Jewish youth and college students who have grandparents that reside in Florida. It encourages these kids to convince their grandparents to vote for Obama.

Watch the video here:

What ever your political leanings are, you have to agree that this is targeted marketing at its best.

Finally, another source of information to youth is television and on-line video clips. Last night, Saturday Night Live did a hysterical parody of the Vice Presidential Debate, featuring Tina Fey and Queen Latifah.

Watch it here:

Talk to your kids. If you don't have kids talk to your friends kids. It's fascinating and you just might learn something. My friend Darice Putterman said it best.
"The world thru eyes of your own child, your teenager, your young adult daughter or son....ALWAYS enlightening to me, refreshingly so..."

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Twitter Me Now

I'm getting deeper into the world of social networking. Now on Twitter @

Also loaded the application twitterberry so I can twitter on my Blackberry and have the "What am I doing?" window on my blog and FaceBook.

Lots of interesting things on Twitter! I think this along with myspace, other social networks and text messaging can be a great way to create a community around the radio stations. I look forward to speaking with our team about it!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Why Radio is a GREAT!

Did you know that every week 93% of all consumers listen to the Radio? That's why radio builds brands and drives sales!

The Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) just released a commanding video highlighting the power of radio. This is a must see for everyone that works in the industry and for every advertiser and potential advertiser.

Watch the video here..

The RAB also does an outstanding job providing radio sellers and advertisers with the latest research on the industry. Click here to view their reports and studies.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Why Radio Advertising Works For The Auto Industry

Paul Jacobs had a great post today about why the auto industry is making a big mistake shifting their ad dollars out of radio and into the Internet.

Paul asks....
"What's the best place to reach someone who needs a new car?" In their office? In their bedroom? On their phone?
He goes on to say....
"You can't read the newspaper when you drive. And you shouldn't watch TV. Or text. And for now, you don't have WiFi so that eliminates the Internet in your car. But radio owns the automobile, yet it's clear that the automakers haven't made this connection".
As much as things changes, traditional terrestrial radio still controls the car, just as it did in the early 1930's when it was introduced!

Read Paul's entire blog here:

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Research as easy as 1-2-3

My first job out of college was as the first research director for KNIX radio when they were owned by Michael and Buck Owens.

Michael and Program Director Larry Daniels were very progressive, especially when it came to utilizing research. Not only did they have their own in-house research department, but they worked with the finest and brightest researchers in the country to help them as well.

I am convinced that it was because of the research they did and their expertise in interpreting and implementing the findings, that helped catapult KNIX in to its market leading dominance and consistent ratings triumphs back in the day.

I can remember all of the time it took in planning and developing the studies, then fielding and tabulating it, and finally getting the final results for analysis. It would take months from start to finish!

Things have really changed with the use of internet polling/research. My friend Howard Lindzon posted a question on his blog today experimenting with I checked it out, went to it and within five minutes I had signed up for a free account and developed a short questionnaire and posted it below.

This is a great tool for any broadcaster, marketer, business, non-profit, etc., that wants to get quick and timely information on the fly from their constituents.

The Economy certainly seems to be on top of everyone's mind these days, so here's a simple poll. Please answer it. If you have any thoughts for future polls, leave a comment or send me a note.

By the way, I know the government says we are not in a recession. I'm interested in knowing how you feel.

Thanks... MM

Monday, September 1, 2008

Honda Update

Just got back from a long, cool weekend in San Diego. We took the new Honda Civic and we're getting over 30 miles per gallon on the drive over and back. Very Exciting!!!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Recognizing the Beginning of Radio Advertising

A little bit of history from today's RAB Radio Sales Today....

Today marks the anniversary of a very important, yet rarely celebrated event in Radio's history. At 5:15 p.m. on August 28, 1922, in New York City, a man identified only as "Mr. Blackwell" delivered what is widely believed to be the first paid Radio commercial. The ad was broadcast by station WEAF, cost $100, and was sponsored by the Queensboro Corporation of New York.

The rambling 10-minute spot was an effort to educate the listening audience about the novelist Nathaniel Hawthorne, as a tie-in to the Queensboro Corporation's recently opened cooperative apartment complex in Queens, Hawthorne Court. The text of the commercial began as follows:

"I wish to thank those within the sound of my voice for the broadcasting opportunity afforded to me to urge this vast Radio audience to seek the recreation and the daily comfort of a home far removed from the congested part of the city, right at the boundaries of God's great outdoors, and within a few minutes by subway from the business section of Manhattan. This sort of residential environment strongly influenced Hawthorne, America's greatest writer of fiction. He analyzed with charming keenness the social spirit of those who had thus happily selected their homes, and he painted the people inhabiting those homes with good-natured relish."

Upon hearing about the new commercial trend, Radio pioneer Lee de Forest reportedly exclaimed: "What have you done with my child? You have sent him out on the street... to collect money from all and sundry... [and] made of him... a stench in the nostrils of the gods of the ionosphere."

Despite de Forest's haughty protests, other companies slowly began to utilize the medium for advertising purposes, including the American Express Company, the Tidewater Oil Company, and the two large competing department stores in New York -- Macy's and Gimbels.

I find it very interesting that the rate was $100 for a ten-minute commercial. By today's standard that ad would cos
t $1,283.33 or $128.30 a minute. Pretty good rates for 1922!

To figure out what a dollar is worth from back in the day click here:

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

We Live In A Global Society

At the radio station we are a family. Sometimes a dysfunctional family, but a family nonetheless.

This morning, my friend Alex Santa Maria who happens to be our Morning DJ and Music Director on MEGA stopped by my office to say hi. He was so excited to tell me about his daughter Sheila and her new adventure. Sheila is 17 and a high school student in Phoenix. She just left home to study, immerse herself in the language, customs and culture of Japan for six months as a foreign exchange student. The more Alex told me, the more excited I got hearing about it! I was wondering how at 48, I could take a sabbatical and be a foreign exchange student.

Alex also shared with me that he is going through a little separation anxiety as well. Although, before she left, taking advantage of technology, Sheila set Alex and Veronica up on Skype so they can video conference each other. It's just as simple as logging on to the internet and a couple of mouse clicks later.... wal la...they are communicating a world apart! This should help ease Alex's anxiety once he figures out the time zone issues.

Alex is definitely the proud father! He was glowing as he was telling me about Sheila. I love seeing Alex like this and hearing the stories!

As Alex and I were speaking, I was reminded of a story that Fran shared with me when she was studying for her International MBA at the Thuderbird School of Global Management. She had a professor who said that since we live in a Global Society, "the greatest gift you can give your children, is to expose them to a different country every year". Fran and I subscribe to that philosophy and have taken it to heart and have tried to do this with the girls. Although, being a foreign exchange student is the ultimate gift. I hope that our girls will have the opportunity to study abroad some day too.

Back to Sheila...... Sheila is an exceptional artist and a talented writer as well. Through the years, Alex has shown me Sheila's artwork and it is incredible. I have always been amazed by here drawings and sketches. To give you an idea of how talented Sheila is, the picture below is a sketch she did on the flight to Japan. It is a drawing of all of her new friends that she met on the way over.

Someday, I hope to have a Sheila Santa Maria original on our wall!

Sheila's has started a Blog where she is keeping a diary of her experience. Click Here:

I'll be anxious to check in on it over the next six months to hear about her adventure and see more of her artwork.

Here are a few more links to Sheila's art work.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

I Don't Get It!

I went to Scottsdale Fashion Square Mall with the girls this evening and something happened that I just don't understand. Maybe someone can explain it to me.

We went into two makeup stores (teens need makeup), Sephora and Bare Minerals and then walked by Armani and Metropark on our way to have dinner at the Grand Luxe. There was one common thread among these five business establishments, they all were playing dance music from "Deep House" to current remixes. As a matter of fact, Armani had a live DJ mixing.

This is what I don't understand. If five establishments are playing dance music why doesn't dance music have a bigger commercial footprint on terrestrial radio here in the United States and specifically in Phoenix? I don't get it. Walking through the mall, I heard a disproportionate amount of dance music compared to other current types of music. Why do retailers feel that dance music works for them in their stores but we can't seem to have any great success with it on the air?

Before everyone comes out of the woodwork and tells me that in Phoenix on Energy we have a bad signal,crummy programing and don't know what we are doing, Stop! That's not what I'm talking about. Say what you want about our station, you are entitled. I'm talking big picture, about dance music as a viable sustaining format on radio stations across the country. After all, dance seems to do well in Europe, why doesn't it do better domestically?

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that dance music hasn't had it's success's on the radio. I am suggesting that it hasn't been a hugely successful, sustaining format. Pure dance stations are simply niche formats that rarely break a one share. Yet, you go to the mall and aggregate all the music genres played in the stores and I can assure you that dance represents much more than a one share of all the music types being played in there.

I'm a big fan of the genre and the format. We brought the format to Arizona and have been committed to it for five years. I'm anxious to get your take on the disparity.