Monday, March 31, 2008

Radio, Music and My Blackberry!

Radio, Music and my Blackberry are three of my favorite things.

Today, I discovered a new software application that combines all three called Radio Companion. It works on the Blackberry Smartphone platform and allows you to monitor airplay from more than 2,700 terrestrial radio stations across the U.S. Users can see what is playing right now on any of their favorite radio stations with just a few quick clicks on their phone. They can then select the music track to have its details sent instantly to their email account, with a direct link to click-through and purchase the song online.

Not only is this free service great for consumers, but it is also very practical for radio pros too. You can set up a panel of up to ten stations by format, city, cluster etc. and instantly see what is being plyed (music and ads).

Radio Companion is easy to download and setup. I did it in less than five minutes. Every audiophile, Music Director, Program Director, Sales Manager and even DJ's and sellers should download this program to their Blackberry. It will give you a competitive edge because you instantly know what your competitors are doing wherever you are.

This is just another application that will keep me addicted to my Blackberry.

The application is a joint venture between Mediaguide and Nobex Technologies.

To learn more about Radio Companion and download the software, click here.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

The Power of Radio

Wally Phillips passed away last week from complications due to Alzheimer’s disease. He was 82.

Who was Wally Phillips you might ask?

Wally Phillips taught me the power of radio broadcasting.

Phillips was the legendary morning host on Chicago’s WGN-AM 720. He was the king of morning drive radio in the Windy City from 1965 to 1986. He consistently dominated the number one position. At the peak of his popularity, he was entertaining almost a million and a half listeners each week, representing almost a 50 share of the morning drive audience. That is unheard of by today’s standards.

Phillips was a true radio pioneer and one of the original, modern-day, morning radio personalities. Phil Rosenthal of the Chicago Tribune wrote a great tribute to Phillips. Interestingly enough, if you are a Programmer, DJ or morning show host, the article is actually a text book tutorial on what it takes to be a successful on-air personality. Click here to read the article ===>

So, how did Wally Phillips teach me the power of radio?

Actually it is quite simple! While I never met him, he was part of my life growing up; he was a member of the family. I can remember every night sitting at the dinner table with my mother, father and brother. After the obligatory “how was your day”, the conversation invariably turned to what Phillips had said that morning on the radio.

You see, each morning Wally Phillips was talking to my mother as she got us ready for school. He spoke to my dad in the car while he was driving to work each day. Phillips was real, relevant and philanthropic. His delivery was not hyped, it was little corny at times, always informative and entertaining and he was one of the first to interact with listeners on the phone.

Most importantly the conversation always seemed like it was directed at you, he was one-on-one with his listeners, myself and my parents included. He was a regular guy; it was like listening to a close friend or relative every morning. He was everybody's good friend! He had Chicagoland hanging on to everything he said. He was powerful!

That's when I realized the power of the spoken word, The Power of Radio!

WGN's Bob Hart reports on Phillips. Click here to listen ===>
Highlights of Wally Phillips on WGN. Click Here to listen ===>

Thursday, March 27, 2008

You're On The Air

A few weeks ago I attended a conference hosted a hosted by my Friend Howard Lindzon. While there, I met Alan Levy the founder of BlogTalkRadio. BlogTalkRadio is what happens when you combine an ordinary blogger a telephone and the internet.

Levy launched BlogTalk Radio in August of 2006 and today averages 2.6 million listeners a month. There are 3,400 different shows on the network hosted by people like you and me. The content ranges from politics to the paranormal, sports, finance, food, religion, music, romance and everything in between. Yoko Ono, John McCain, Jeff Goldblum, Patty Labelle and many more famous and not so famous people have been featured guests on a BlogTalk show.

Anyone of us can host our own show from the comfort of our home, office or wherever we are as long as we have a telephone a computer and an internet connection. Conversely, anyone around the world can listen and participate from the convenience of their computer and phone. BlogTalkRadio is doing its part in making us a global society.

Much like terrestrial radio, BlogTalkRadio is ad supported. Targeted audio commercials are inserted into the audio stream of each show no different than you here on your local radio station. Levy is not greedy either, he has established a revenue share model so that the BlogTalk hosts share in the revenue generated.

From a listeners stand point, there is something for everyone. From a blogger’s point of view, if you have something to say, here is the platform to do it and you might even make a little money for your rant!

Howard Kurtz of the Washington Post recently did a feature story on Levy and BlogTalkRadio. The article gives you a great insight into the BlogTalkRadio story.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Reality is Reality and it Works

I’m a simple guy and I admit that I love reality television shows. I first got hooked on them years ago when the Biography Channel was launched. In recent years I have been a big fan of the celebrity reality shows like The Osborne’s, Breaking Bonaduce, Run’s House, Rob and Big, Little People Big World, Growing up Gotti, MTV Cribs, Hogan Knows Best, Snoop Dog’s Fatherhood, Dog the Bounty Hunter, The Anna Nicole Show, Scott Baio is 45 and Single, Celebrity Rehab and my favorite, Gene Simmons Family Jewels.

Of the professional reality shows, I like Dr. 90210, Miami Ink, American Chopper, The Deadliest Catch, Ice Road Truckers and Dirty Jobs.

Reality is huge. Just look at YouTube!

The one thing that all of these shows have in common for me is that in some way, shape or form, I can relate to almost each and every one of these people. We all have issues! They have the same issues, problems, joys and challenges that we have.

On a recent episode of Gene Simmons Family Jewels, the Simmon's dog Skippy runs away and the family is in a panic. Who can't relate to this? When you cut through it all, are these people really that different than us?

They might be rich and/or famous but other than that, they are just like us. Viewers can relate to that and I contend that is why these shows are popular. People, by nature are nosy too and they have a voyeuristic side to them. We like to peer into other peoples lives. Also, the shows are produced just like a soap opera. You get hooked and can’t wait until the next episode to see what happens. All of this is why I enjoy watching them.

In our business of radio, we are seeing an increase in testimonial commercials, or in today’s vernacular, “Reality” ads. A Reality ad is when you craft a commercial around interviews with customers and they speak about the GREAT experience that they had at a particular business. These ads work for the same reason that people enjoy watching reality shows. The listener can relate to the person giving the testimonial because it is a regular person just like them.

My friend Michael Crawford the General Manager/Partner of Peoria KIA is a master at this. He gets testimonials all the time from his customers. He puts the customers in his radio ads, TV ads and even includes them in his infomercials. Why? Because it works, and Michael can sell more cars because of it!

This is how it works.....

Suzy from Glendale hears the Peoria KIA ad on the radio with Tina in Tempe talking about how even with her bad credit Michael Crawford and Peoria KIA figured out how to get her into a new car and how nice the whole buying experience was. Suzy could relate to what she was hearing Tina say in the commercial, because she too has bad credit and furthermore, she was not treated so nice at another dealership because of that. So what does Suzy from Glendale do? She heads down to Peoria KIA to see if they can help her out of her credit jam and get her into a new car.

Reality/testimonial ads can work for any type of business, not just the automotive category. The one key to a reality ad is that it must be real and not contrived. The listener or viewer is to smart for that and can sniff out BS a mile a way.

So get real, It works!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

The Long Term Value of a Customer

Through the Social/business networking sight LinkedIn, I recently reconnected with Paul Anovick. Paul is a consultant/trainer that I worked with years ago when I was the Sales Manager for Bonneville's radio stations in Phoenix. I remember he presented our team with a powerful presentation on time management. Today, when coaching our team, I focus on many of the same concepts and principles that Paul spoke to us about ten-plus years ago.

Paul has a Blog on leadership and results. In a recent post. He did a great job of articulating the long term value of a customer.

Paul stated that….

“Research shows that 96% of customers who are not treated with respect just decide to never go back. Typically, customers will not complain because complaining just adds to the hassle of an already bad experience. Six out of ten customers will never return to an organization based on poor service…NOT poor products. They usually will not register a complaint with the organization, they just go elsewhere, and customers want a positive experience and want to deal with a service provider that has empathy”.

He went on to say….

“The best way to grow your business is to create loyal, satisfied customers who will spend more time and money with you and refer you to other people who are interested in doing business with you because of the trust you have built. The most important element in building a successful business is your ability to develop and sustain a loyal customer base”.

Click here to read the entire Blog entry ===>

Paul continues to advise clients today. Here is a link to Anovick and Associates.

Click here to read Paul's Weblog ===>

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Apple Service Extraordinaire!

I have always been a geeky computer guy. I bought my first computer while I was in college in 1980. It was an old CPM based computer called a REX built in a wooden case. Through the years I’ve had Northstar, Timex, Osborn, Corona, IBM, HP, Compaq and Dell computers. I’ve even built a couple of my own, but I have never had an Apple!

Fast forward to the present......

In May, my oldest daughter Jordie got an Apple MacBook. She loves this computer and takes it everywhere. With the built in WiFi, she can surf, IM and download from anywhere in the house or the world (and she does).

When it comes to Apple, I’m out of my comfort zone and I don’t always know how to operate it. So I decided to go to the Apple Store at the "Biltmore" to see if they could answer some questions.

This is a great store if you love computers, gadgets and music (which I do). I was greeted at the door by a cheerful young woman. She asked if she could help me. I told her I had a few questions. She directed me to Doug and said he would answer all my questions.

Doug was incredible! Not only did he take the time to answer the questions I had when I walked in, but he patiently answered all of the questions I thought of while I was there too. We talked about hardware, software, compatibility issues, iPhones and the internet. He went as far as taking a MacBook apart in front of me to show me how to put additional memory sticks in the computer. He then said, if I wanted, I could just bring the notebook in and they would install it for me.

When I finally asked my last question, Doug reached out shook my hand, thanked me for coming in and gave me his business card. He said; call him direct if I have any more questions.

I have always heard how helpful the staff is at the Apple Store. They should win a J.D. Powers award for their service. Sure beats the old days when I had to go to a warehouse in an industrial park to have my computer questions answered. Or even worse today, when I'm on the phone with someone in a foreign country that I can't understand.

In the radio business, all of the software that we use is PC/Windows based. Doug showed my how I can seamlessly load that software on a MAC. I might just do that some day…

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Get Lectured

I believe things happen for a reason. Today, in my email I received two videos about life and inspiration. It was a sign that I needed to post them here today.

The first video was sent to me by Fran, my wife. It is about the “Last Lecture” given by Randy Pausch, Professor of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon. It was given on September 18, 2007. The lecture is entitled "Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams”. In August of 2007 Pausch was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and was told that he had three to six months to live. This lecture highlights what is important to him. The video in the box is from Oprah and is an abridged version of the original lecture. To see the original lecture in it's entirety, click here ==>

Randy Pausch is still alive and fighting pancreatic cancer. Here is a link to his blog. click here ==>

This lecture has gotten rave reviews and world wide attention. In April a book based on the lecture will be released. It is titled "The Last Lecture”.

The second video came from my friend Billy. It is a lecture by Harvard trained, Indiana University School of Medicine, brain researcher Jill Bolte Taylor and how she studied her own stroke as it happened. This is an amazing video and very inspirational as well.

This video and lecture come from
"TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from those three worlds. Since then its scope has become ever broader.

The annual conference now brings together the world's most fascinating thinkers and doers, who are challenged to give the talk of their lives (in 18 minutes).

This site makes the best talks and performances from TED available to the public, for free."

I encourage you to take the time and watch both of these videos. Also, go to and watch some of their lectures. You won't regret it.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Please and Thank You are the Magical Words

My Friend Dan invited me to go see Matchbox Twenty last night. Had a great time with Dan, Richelle, Kristi, Chris and Nicole (they all wanted their name in the Blog). This was the second to last show before the end of their “Exile in America” tour and you would never know it. The show was electrifying and full of energy! This is a band that you can tell really enjoys playing with each other.

As I have written before, I’m big on customer service. Customer service comes in all ways, shapes and forms, across all businesses and industries. It is know different in the concert business. As a matter of fact, it is well known that the Greatful Dead, back in the day, was so big on customer service that they conducted exit surveys at their concerts to feel the pulse of their fans so they could always give them what they want. Thus, the “Dead Heads” would follow them from city to city and show to show.

Back to Matchbox Twenty….. Beside form the show being great and thoroughly enjoying myself, Rob Thomas, the front man for the band did something that I have never seen done before at a concert. As the show was ending, the music stopped. Rob was standing at center stage and he humbly addressed the audience. He thanked everyone for coming to the show and supporting the band. He said that if it wasn’t for the fans, they could not do what they enjoy doing. He went on to say that he knew that time was precious and he appreciated everyone making the time and coming out to see them. This was not your obligatory, “Thank you, thank you very much Phoenix……Elvis has left the building.” You could tell that this was sincere, from the heart and that he really meant it.

Finally, as the band was leaving the stage, and the lights were still down, the huge, jumbo video screen that served as a backdrop for the entire stage, lit up with what looked like a posted note. It said, “Thank You”. It was big enough for even the people in the back of the lawn section to see it.

I walked away and said to myself, WOW, these guys get it. They make great music, give you your moneys worth at the show and then let you know how much they appreciate your business and support. This is smart marketing and good business. There in lies a big reason why this band has sold 28 million records,has three multi-platinum albums and has had a successful tour when the economy stinks.

I remember what my parents tried to impart on me when I was growing up. Always say "Please and Thank You", it will go a long way. You know what? They were right!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

This Is Not Your Father’s Video Game

In the early 1970’s my aunt and uncle gave me the video game Pong for the holidays. Pong was developed by Atari and by today’s standards is primitive at best. But back in the day, Pong was all the rage. It was an electronic version of ping pong and started the home video game revolution. I would come home from school and instead of watching Gilligan’s Island or Andy Griffith I would play Pong for hours on the old, Admiral, black and white TV in our basement.

Watch Pong Video

Fast forward to today. My youngest daughter who is 10 just got the game Rock Band. Rock Band is a new interactive video game that was developed by Harmonix Music Systems and released in late 2007. This game is unbelievable! You can play the guitar, bass, drums and even sing along with great rock songs. Sydney was playing the guitar like a seasoned pro. She looked like Jimmy Hendirx banging out a solo. I, on the other hand could not make it through a song with out losing the game.

Watch Rock Band Video

I read and hear all the time how popular video games are and I know first hand from our own household how popular they are. We have a Wii, Xbox, and Ps2. But I did not realize the impact of these games until tonight when I was playing with my daughter.

These video games are so interactive and engaging that they have become as important, if not more important to today’s youth as Ipod’s, cell phones, radio, the internet, TV, video’s, computers, cd’s, etc.

After we played, I logged onto and they have their own store and social networking community along with everything else you would expect. They are doing everything they can to provide the complete on-line Rock band experience.

In contrast, when I was ten, I thought I was fortunate. I had my own black and white TV with both a VHF and UHF antenna, a cassette recorder, record player and I shared the land line phone with my parents. I also had a lot of board games and puzzles too. Things have changed.

What does all this mean?

A few years ago I attended the Jacobs Media Summit. This is a great conference and they always have speakers on cutting edge technology and trends for reaching youth and interestingly enough, reaching the rock radio audience. On one of their panels was a gentleman from the video game developer EA (I can’t remember his name). He was telling us how they incorporate popular music into their games and the total reach these games have. He went on to say that the record companies recognized this and were pursuing the game makers the same way they do radio to get their songs added and included in games. Smart, since kids are spending so much time with these games.

As a broadcaster and marketer, intellectually, I have always gotten it and understood the impact and the power of video games. From a practical standpoint, I did not crystallize with me until tonight, when my daughter was kicking my ass at Rock band and we were rockin’ out to Mississippi Queen.

This week Variety Magazine reported that in February of 2008, video game sales were up 34% over the same period last year with revenues of 1.3 billion dollars. It is know wonder that Viacom’s, MTV purchased Harmonix in 2006.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Future is Here.... Almost

Brian Cooley of CNET TV reports in from the 2008 Geneva Auto Show on the new unrestricted, built in access to the internet that BMW will be launching on select models in Europe. BMW is the first automaker to launch this service. They are using the EDGE technology to connect to the internet. This is the same technology used by many mobile phones, including Apple's iPhone.

BMW is also partnering with Google to download maps for navigation too.

Think about it. I can be driving through Europe in my new BMW and listening to my favorite "Old School" songs on MEGA from Phoenix. You know the other manufacturers can not be far behind. This is the future and the implications are tremendous across all electronic media.

I love technology.........

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Women Who Shaped My History

I subscribe to the Smithsonian magazine. This is a great magazine if you enjoy history. This month’s features a slide show on the achievement of women through the decades. It is a great piece.

In honor of women’s history month, we have chosen one significant event from each decade over the past century. Each event recognizes the achievements of women in all facets of life who moved history forward”. Click on this link: Begin slideshow >

After viewing the slide show, I thought about how strong and tough these women must have been. I have an affinity towards strong women. It must be my upbringing. Each of the women below should be included in the slide show as well, for through the decades they have helped shape my life.

My Grandmother, Selma Mallace was a very strong and progressive woman. She died a few years back when she was in her early 90’s. She lived through the depression, graduated college, and was a teacher, an artist and a very astute investor. She invested in both the stock market and real-estate and did quite well. She was a woman who was born ahead of her time. If she were alive and in her prime today, she would be like my wife Fran, running a large company.

My mother, Judy is strong as well, but in other ways. She is a solid leader, having been a camp director, social worker, director of a senior center, mother of two boys, wife and for many years a partner with my father, working in the family business. My mother is a great seller too, she could go toe-to-toe with anyone and does not take anyone’s Shit.
She is also a pillar of strength; she has been faced with adversity through out her life. She lost her mother when she was 13 years old and has had to deal with my father’s health issues throughout the years, including heart attacks, bypass surgeries, kidney surgeries etc. On a number of occasions, she ran the business while my father was in the hospital and at home recuperating.

Fran, my wife is a modern day version of my grandmother, with a little bit of my mother sprinkled in. Fran is a Great leader, Intellect a visionary in business and world matters, she’s philanthropic, not only with her financial support, but with her time and expertise. She is a juggler who balances work with family, friends, fun and arts and crafts.

Like my mother, Fran is a pillar of strength. In August of 2005 Fran started her Executive International MBA program at Thunderbird International School of Management. At the same time, my father in-law who was in his 80’s and had been living with us for many years, health took a sudden turn for the worse. Fran ran her business (Cox Media) cared for her father before he passed away, went to school two days a week every other week (maintaining a near perfect 4.0 GPA) and was a mom who still managed to attended parent teacher conferences and field trips. Fran never missed a beat and graduated Thunderbird last May.

These three women, all from different generations, helped shape my history….

"Client 9" Already on The Charts..... Debuts on Youtube

Here's the newest song to hit the Charts. "Client 9" about New York Governor Eliot Spitzer.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Eliot Spitzer / Payola, Hookers and Karma

The New York Times broke the story today that New York Governor Eliot Spitzer was implicated in a high price prostitution ring.

You remember Eliot Spitzer? He is the former New York State Attorney General who brought all the payola charges against the radio and records industry.

“I have acted in a way that violates my obligation to my family and violates my or any sense of right or wrong,” said Mr. Spitzer, who appeared with his wife Silda at his Manhattan office. “I apologize first and most importantly to my family. I apologize to the public to whom I promised better.”

My friend Howard Lindzon calls it Karma and I agree... The Smoking Gun has the documents. In them, Spitzer is identified as Client-9.

How ironic! You know there is going to be a new song and video out called "Client-9" and I'm sure all the labels will push it!! I know a few dj's that would love to re-mix it too...

What’s Up When The Economy's Down? Part 2

The staff at the Arizona Republic must be reading my blog. Today they reported that trash-haulers, cleaners, credit counselors, bankruptcy attorneys (support staff), property managers and locksmiths are seeing growth due to the current housing down turn. According to the article, health care and hospitals, discount stores, utilities, fast-food restaurants, movie theaters and professional sports teams appear to be recession proof too.

Local Economist, Elliott Pollack states, “Generally, businesses that do the best during downturns are the ones that provide goods and services that consumers can't postpone, such as food, medical services, utilities and educational services.”

Running the Numbers - An American Self-Portrait / Chris Jordan - photographic arts

This series looks at contemporary American culture through the austere lens of statistics. Each image portrays a specific quantity of something: fifteen million sheets of office paper (five minutes of paper use); 106,000 aluminum cans (thirty seconds of can consumption) and so on......

This is GREAT!....really makes you think..

Click here to see exhibit.

Food Fight

Gruesome images of war tend to make a person lose his appetite. But when hamburgers, sushi and chicken kabobs do battle, the result is delicious.

Site Update

As I figure out what I am doing, I have added a few things to the site to make it easier for you to access it. First, you can now get to my blog by entering; You can also subscribe in a reader or via email, where you can get all of my posts in your inbox.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

What’s Up When The Economy's Down?

In yesterday’s RBR (Radio Business Report) Bill Stakelin, CEO of Regent Communications commented they found that its existing clients were, over the course of time, spending less on advertising. He went on to say that there is a need today to have larger sales staffs and that Regent management determined that they needed more sellers on the street to bring in new clients. “Existing clients are not buying as deep and not spending as much, so there is a need to increase the client base,” Stakelin said.

With the current economic situation, we are seeing the same thing happen in Phoenix at our stations. Clients are not canceling, but are cutting back and certainly clients are not buying as deep as before.

We speak with auto dealers and they tell us of the slow down in new and used car sales, gaming, furniture, jewelry, nightclubs are all off as well. And it goes with out saying that anything related to real estate is in the tank.

Stakelin and his team are dead on! YOU MUST GO OUT AND FIND NEW BUSINESS and a large developed staff can do that. We are constantly trying to increase the size our staff, but sometimes it is easier said than done.

To offset the impact of an economic slowdown, we went through an exercise with our team to identify which categories of business are recession proof and even thrive in a soft economy. A few categories that we identified were; resale shops, dollar stores, car repair shops, auto paint shops, discount grocery stores and funeral homes (cremations).

I would welcome your thoughts! Please let me know which businesses and categories of business you think are thriving right now.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

"DA Coach" Mike Ditka

Being from Chicago and a life long Bears Fan, I did not miss the opportunity to attend a fundraiser this evening to hear Mike Ditka speak. The Coach’s thoughts, comments and stories were entertaining, they also provide the framework for creating a winning organization, be it a football team, radio station or retail business.

He spoke about his mentors; Tom Landry, George Halas and Vince Lombardi and how they were thinkers, strategists and motivators. His talk focused on three pillars that combined, brings success. They include attitude, character and enthusiasm.

According to the coach in order to succeed, you need to have a great set of values and integrity; you must be confident, have a commitment to excellence and a strong desire to be the best. You must be respectful of others, including your competition, be a team player, talk about good things, be solutions oriented and have fun.

Finally, he said “The harder you work, the better it gets!”

I thought I was just going to dinner to hang out with the guys and hear great sports stories from a football legend. Little did I know that I was going to walk away with a MBA “DAgree” from the University of Mike Ditka.

Speaking of Chicago, I discovered a great Chicago Pizza and Hot Dog joint on Granite Reef and McDonald in Scottsdale called Chizona. This place meets all my criteria, good food, big portions and it’s cheap!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

I'm Jazzed

I have always been a frustrated musician with a fondness’ for jazz. I think that is how I ended up in radio. If I couldn’t make the music, I could at least play the music on the radio. Instead of playing in the High School band, I was a Disc Jockey at the High School radio station WNTH.

In my email today was a note from the Jazz Ensemble I at my alma matter, New Trier High School in Winnetka, Illinois.

Here is an excerpt from the email;

You are receiving this e-mail as an alumni of New Trier High School so we can share an exciting project going on in the same halls of the school you attended some years ago.

In just three weeks our New Trier Jazz Ensemble I directed by Jim Warrick will travel to New Orleans to complete a project they have been working on all year. The 26-member jazz group, several other student musicians and a few members of the music faculty will be spending their Spring Break (March 22-28) building a house in or near "Musicians' Village", which is a housing project of single homes sponsored by Habitat for Humanity and created by Harry Connick, Jr. and Branford Marsalis in an effort to provide affordable, quality housing to professional musicians and their families that left town after Hurricane Katrina. They will also perform concerts at Tipitina's, which is the largest jazz club in the French Quarter, a lunch time concert in "Musicians' Village", and a concert for 800 volunteers in Camp Hope where Habitat volunteers live while in New Orleans.

The project is called, "Hey NOLA, We didn't forget you!" and the project's webpage is

The goal of the jazz ensemble's project is to donate the full cost of building a Habitat House in New Orleans...$75,000. With three weeks to go the ensemble finds itself only $10,000 short of that goal, which is why you are receiving this email.

The jazz ensemble is selling a special edition, double CD to raise the final amount needed. This CD is a tribute to the recently completed 25th Anniversary of the "New Trier High School Jazz Festival", now called the "Frank Mantooth Jazz Festival at New Trier," and contains 28 selections of Jazz Ensemble I performing with some of the jazz greats that have recorded with New Trier students since the nationally-known jazz festival began in 1983.

Since all performance fees and royalties from living composers were waived, EVERY CENT FROM THE SALES OF THIS DOUBLE CD GOES DIRECTLY INTO THE HABITAT FOR HUMANITY FUND!”

After I read the email, I went to their website. Impressed does not do justice for this group of talented people. I listened to the music, and watched a few videos.

If you like Jazz, check this out. If you like Jazz and feel philanthropic, buy the CD. I did!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Free Advertising

I remember working in my father’s card and gift shop in Waukegan, Illinois as I was growing up. My father was very much attuned to customer service. He new all of his customers by name, he would open his store early or stay late if it meant making a customer happy. The lessons I learned from my dad about business and customer service have stuck with me my whole life. They have laid the foundation and been the bedrock for the way I conduct business. So, what does my father and customer service have to do with free advertising? Before I answer that question, I want to share with you three extraordinary customer service experience’s I have had recently.

1) I was in
Los Angeles a couple of weeks ago to meet with our radio station’s rep firm and clients. I go there four or five times a year and typically stay one or two nights. I always stay at the Courtyard by Marriott in Century City. It is a convenient location for me; the rates are good, free internet, nice, clean, modern contemporary rooms, great chocolate chip cookies on the bed at night, and if I’m lucky, every once in a while I get upgraded to a suite because of my “Marriott Rewards” status.

When I pulled my rental car into the hotel to check in, I was greeted by Ray. As he opened my door he looked at me and said, “Welcome back Mr. Mallace”. I looked at him with amazement and asked myself, how did he remember me? He went on to help me with my luggage, and then proceeded to park my car for me.

The next morning, I stepped out of the elevator grabbed a cup of tea. By the time I made it out the front door to give the valet my ticket, my car was already there. Wow! Through out my two days at the Courtyard, the staff was helpful and friendly, my car was always pulled up for me without asking and I was always enthusiastically greeted by name every time I returned. When I checked out, Ray wished me safe travels and asked when I was going to return. GREAT CUSTOMER SERVICE!

2) This past weekend I attended a conference at the Westin Kierland Resort in Scottsdale. Once again, I was enthusiastically greeted by the valet. He welcomed me to the Westin and asked if I was checking in or if I was just there for the day. I explained that I was there for the conference. With that, he told me exactly what room it was in and gave me directions on how to get there.

After I walked into the hotel and made the right and left turns like I was supposed to, I was at fork in the middle of the hallway. Should I go to the left, right, down the stairs or take the elevator. I was studying the plaque on the wall. The one with all the arrows, trying to figure out what my next move would be. Then a gentleman in a suit with a Westin name badge stepped out of the elevator and asked me if he could help me. I told him what room I was looking for and that I was confused on which way to go. He said, “Please step in the elevator and allow me to take you to the conference room”. I followed him and was there in a second.

That evening, Fran and I attended a dinner at the conference. Not only was the food outstanding but the service was extraordinary. As we left the dinner, a member of the hotel staff was stationed at the door, asked how everything was and thanked us for being there. You could tell that it was heart felt and sincere. GREAT CUSTOMER SERVICE!

3) Finally, yesterday I was dropping a friend off at the airport and we had some time to kill. So we went shopping where the boys go, Fry’s electronics (Fran and the girls won’t got there with me). I was looking for camera supplies and my friend was looking for a Nintendo Wii.

Fry’s Electronics for those of you have not experienced it, is a warehouse store like Costco that has everything you could imagine in regards to electronics, appliances, computers etc. It is so big; they even have their own cafĂ© inside.

The first thing that struck me when we entered the store was that we were greeted by a professional young man wearing a pair of dress slacks, white shirt and tie. For that matter all of the associates were dressed like that as well. We asked the gentleman for directions to the appropriate departments, he in turn asked another associate to escort us to the Wii department and then on to the camera department.

In each case when we were in the individual departments the associates did not just point us in the right direction, they actually escorted us to the racks and displays to show us exactly what we were looking for. Who would expect that from a big warehouse discount store? Once again, GREAT CUSTOMER SERVICE!

So what does all this have to do with free advertising? It’s actually quite simple. We would all agree that word of mouth is the most effective form of advertising. Then it stands to reason that extraordinary customer service breeds loyal and happy customers. Customers like me and you, who will become evangelists for their businesses and spread the gospel. I’ve repeated these stories many times over the past few days and weeks. That’s free advertising for the Courtyard, Westin and Fry’s Electronics. I can’t help but think that in some small way this will have a positive impact on their business.

Every day we here how bad the economy is. We know this has a direct impact on our clients and their ability to invest in advertising and market themselves. It is simple and inexpensive to make sure that all of our associates provide extraordinary service to our customers, making them evangelists for our businesses and giving us all FREE ADVERTISING?

On the flip side, bad customer service might provide an even larger amount of publicity and free advertising. That topic is for a future post.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

News Paper Revenues Down Again

Calendar has been Cruel to Newspapers
Source: Media Daily News, 2/29/08 / RAB

Poor results in the fourth quarter of 2007 and January 2008 foreshadow another year of sliding revenues for newspapers. The news comes as no surprise to industry observers, following two straight years of declines in 2006-'07 in the face of Internet competition. Across the board, newspaper losses were driven by double-digit declines in classifieds, as well as accelerating declines in national and local advertising, including retail.

Besides me, a couple of our DJ’s and Jack Preda our Senior Account Executive, I don’t think anyone at the station reads the paper anymore. They get the majority of their news on line or from electronic media. Have you seen a Monday edition of the AZ Republic lately? They are combining sections together because there is not much advertising to fit between the stories.

The article addresses double-digit declines in classified advertising. Companies like (who we have a strategic alliance with at the radio station) are certainly eating into traditional newspapers recruitment advertising revenue with their aggressive and service oriented, on-line portal that reaches both the employers and job seekers in the markets they serve.

My First Entry In The World Of Blogging

This is the first entry on my blog. I will write about my thoughts and opinions on radio, media, marketing, travel, food, entertainment etc.

How fitting that my first entry is about dinner and a movie, two of my favorite things to do.
Had a great dinner at Pars (a must if you like Persian food), then went to see Vantage Point with: Matthew Fox, William Hurt, Dennis Quaid, Forest Whitaker, Sigourney Weaver. If you like action adventure movies, this is a must see. I was at the edge of my seat from the moment the movie started.