Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Makes Me Wonder

Back in the late sixties, I was the kid that would lay in bed at night and listen to top-40 stations around the country on my Panasonic, AM, transistor radio. One of the stations that I always enjoyed listening to was the legendary CKLW from Windsonr/Detroit. Not only was CKLW a great top-40 station, they were famous for their 20/20 news. These weren't just newscasts, they were expertly crafted, high-energy, sometimes shocking accounts of what was happening in the Detroit/Windsor metro right now!

The newscasts were as important as the music on the station. The news anchors always had that deep anchorman voice, they were Disc Jockey's without the music. It was fun to listen to, informative and the listeners were engaged, they never tuned out. These newscasts were radio's version of reality shows, and they were updated twice an hour.

I ran across this tribute to the CKLW 20/20 news and it made me wonder. Would this work today? We talk about how radio needs to be local. What's more local than local news? Reality shows are hot right now. This is reality at it's best.

I'm not suggesting that music radio stations today have a local news staff totaling twenty-four. That would be cost prohibitive in this environment. Although, with technology today, you could probably to the same work more efficiently with less than a quarter of the staff. What I am suggesting is that offering, live local, relevant content in a unique way is what is needed between the records today. It will only enhance the listening experience and create brand loyalty. What can be so wrong with that?

Commercial radio is reinventing itself as it has done throughout history. It might make sense to look at what others did before us, see what worked and made them successful. I've always believed that you can learn from the past.

Think about the re-purposing, podcasting, video and website opportunities CKLW could have had back in the day. They'd be sitting on a gold mine!

As Maroon5 says.... Makes Me Wonder......

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Bad Father of the Year Award... Maybe....Maybe Not

I might win the Bad Father of the Year Award. My fourteen year old asked me to take her and her friend to see George Lopez in concert at the Dodge Theater. I was able to get tickets and we went to the show last Wednesday night.

Wow! This wasn't Disney on Ice or the circus. This certainly was not the same George Lopez that is on Nick at Night. Clearly, the show was inappropriate for a fourteen year old. Or was it?

Lopez was hysterical, foul and raunchy. At first I was embarrassed, then I said to myself that these kids see and hear this stuff every day at school, Television, the internet, Myspace and text messaging. While I don't condone the language or the the behavior, I actually felt good that I could share this show with my daughter. She was not embarrassed, so why should I be. We all were laughing the entire time. It really was a great show and a lot of fun. What concerned me was that she got all the jokes. I'm still a little troubled by that.

It was actually a bit inspirational at the end when Lopez thanked everyone for coming and that he appreciated the fans support. He went on to say that you should follow your dreams and that he had dreamed of being a comedian since he was eleven years old, living in the hood, being raised by his grandmother. He added that he had eleven sold out shows in Phoenix, one of the highest rated syndicated TV shows in the country and he was on Forbes list behind Jerry Seinfeld. What a great success story and an inspiration for kids today.

After the show, we went to dinner at FEZ to support Body Positive's Dining Out For Life. All the proceeds from dinner that night went to help fight and treat AID's. We talked about that, we talked about the show and a lot of other things.

My point is, we live in a diverse society. All kinds of people all kinds of situations. I think it is important for kids to be exposed to everything (even an inappropriate concert) and not shelter them from reality. I was happy that I could be at the show with her. We laughed, we talked, we ate at a hip restaurant, we supported a charity, and we hung out together and had fun. It was some good father daughter bonding Wednesday night. When your daughter is fourteen you take it when you can get it.

You be the judge...

I did It !

I did it! I finally broke down and bought an Apple MacBook. I justified it by telling my youngest daughter that we could share it. Big mistake! We fight over who is going to use it all of the time. I see another MacBook in my future.

Once again, everything about the Apple experience has been superb. The staff at the Apple store was more than friendly and helpful. They helped me chose the software that I would need and also suggested what software I did not need to buy.

When I got home, it was easy to set up. Although, I did make a few mistakes connecting and transferring my music over from my iPod, No problem. A quick call to Apple Care and it was all figured out. Within five minutes of my call, I received an email from them with my case number and a note suggesting that if I had any other problems I should call back and reference the number.

Went to Chicago last week and used the MacBook to watch movies and listen to music on the plane. I also updated the blog from the hotel connecting through the built in Wifi. While in Chicago, stopped in at the apple store, bought a few accessories and asked a lot of questions. Once again, the staff was friendly and helpful. I'm like a sponge with the Apple. Always asking questions and taking it all in.

Finally, I figured out how to use my Blackberry as a tethered modem through the bluetooth connection. Now, if Wifi is not available, I can access the internet through my phone.

I'm beginning to see why people who use apple computers are fanatics! It is a great experience all the way around.

I was talking with our friend Holly who is getting her MBA. She was telling me that they reviewed a case study on Apple and that Apple stores have the highest sales per square foot of any retail store. No surprise. Great product, Great Service!

Wallstrip.com featured Apple this week and detailed why they are successful.

Favorite Places to Eat

One of my passions is eating out. Lets face it, I love to eat and my not so svelte body is living proof of my passion. To the right of my posts is a widget with a map titled Yelp. Yelp is a website that I use to highlight and review restaurants that I like.

Richelle emailed me and reminded me of a couple favorites that are not on the list including, Juan's and Harvey's Wine Burger. They are on the list now... check it out!

Bon Appetit!

The ABC's of Selling

Through the years, I have been a big fan of author, business man and columnist Harvey Mackay and his straight forward approach to selling and customer service. In this weeks column he talks about his ABC's of selling. His list of 26 points is better than an all day sales seminar. It transcends sales and is something that everyone in an organization should embrace. This list is POWERFUL. You should print this up and display it prominently on your desk. Every day it will remind you about what it takes to become and remain extraordinary!

Availability for your customers is essential, so they can reach you with questions, concerns or reorders.

Believe in yourself and your company, or find something else to sell.

Customers aren't always right, but if you want to keep them as your customers, find a way to make them right.

Deliver more than you promise.

Education is for life—never stop learning.

Follow up and follow through. Never leave a customer hanging.

Goals give you a reason to go to work every day. When you reach your goals, set higher ones!

Humanize your selling strategy by learning everything you can about your customers.

I is the least important letter in selling.

Join trade organizations and community groups that will help you both professionally and personally, such as Toastmasters, chamber of commerce or Junior Achievement.

Know your competitors and their products as well as you know your own.

Listen to your customers or they'll start talking to someone else.

Maybe is the worst answer a customer can give. No is better than maybe. Find out what you can do to turn it into a yes.

Networking is among the most important skills a salesperson can develop. Someone you know knows someone you need to know.
Opportunities are everywhere. Keep your antennae up.

Price is not the only reason customers buy your product, but it is a good reason.

Quality can never be sacrificed if you want to keep your customers satisfied.

Relationships are precious: They take time to develop and are worth every minute you invest in them.

Service is spelled "serve us" in companies that want to stay in business for a long time.

Trust is central to doing business with anyone. Without it, you have another word that begins with T: Trouble.

Unlimited potential is possible whether you sell computers or candy. You are the only one who can limit your potential.

Volunteer: It's always good to give back. You'll probably find that you get more than you give, and there is no shortage of organizations that need your help.

Winning doesn't necessarily mean beating everyone else. A win-win situation is the best of both worlds.

X-ray and catscan your customers so that you know everything about them—so you can serve them better.

You is a word your customers need to hear often, as in "What can I do for you?"

Zeal is a critical element in your presentations, service and life in general. Let your enthusiasm shine through!

Some things never change—including the importance of knowing how to treat your customers and what really matters in your relationships. And as you can see, most of these items cover far more than just sales.

Mackay's Moral: Now you know my ABCs—sales skills from A to Z.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

What's up With Satellite Radio?

One of the most frequently asked questions I get from friends and clients is how is satellite radio impacting our business? I always tell people that while satellite is a competitor, that it really has not had any noticeable impact on what we do locally.

My friends at Jocobs Media have a great post on their blog detailing the "Churn" factor with satellite radio. This is based on the results of their annual Tech Survey of rock listeners. In a nut-shell, they have discovered that if you have bought the satellite service on your own, you will most likely continue to subscribe. Although, if you were given the service as a gift, or it was part of the package when you bought a new car with satellite radio, you were not as likely to continue to subscribe.

Jacobs has detailed some interesting findings on the future of satellite. Read their blog here ==>

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Video Profile of MEGA and ENERGY

Jobing.com, the Valley's premier job board has done a nice video profile on the radio stations. It is featured on their website and it gives potential job applicants an insight into what the radio stations are all about.   Thanks Jobing!!! 

Watch it here ===>

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Back From The NAB

I was at the NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) Convention in Las Vegas and attended the radio luncheon. They announced this years Crystal Award winners, inducted Chicago, radio legend Larry Lujack into the Hall of Fame and former MTV and AOL leader Bob Pitman was the key note speaker.

I thought Bob Pittman had some great things to say about radio and it's future.  He stated that radio has a bright future because it is  a Great consumer business.  He went on to say that a good consumer business is about two things; convenience and branding and that radio has both. Pittman added that radio programmers are some of the best brand-builders in the world, a statement that I definitely a agree with.

Pittman was very bullish on radio and its future!  

Kelly M. Brooks of Radio World did a nice job of recapping Pittman's address and comments by NAB President, David Rehr and Larry Lujack.    Read it here ==>

Sunday, April 13, 2008

We’re #1

I bet you thought I was telling you about the radio station. I wish I was, and I’m confident I will make that post someday. No, I’m talking about ASU Women’s softball. Did you know that the ASU women’s softball team was ranked number one in the nation? Neither did I. They are, this season with 44 wins and only two losses.

Both my girls play softball. They get that from Fran who came out to Arizona to play softball in 1978. Last night the girl’s softball league participated in a special promotion and we attended the ASU women’s softball game at Farrington Stadium in Tempe. I’m happy to report that ASU beat Washington 7 – 2. This is a great parallel to our oldest daughter’s 18-8 victory during the day yesterday. By the way, she had two great hits and played well in the field.

ASU softball could be the best sports entertainment value in the Valley! At $5.00 for a general admission ticket that would be equivalent to any lower bowl seat at any other stadium in town, we were up close watching an exciting game. There was electricity in the air. The near capacity crowd of 2,000 plus fans had spirit like you could only feel at a college game. This was due in part to the expertly picked music that was playing during the team warm-ups and through out the game. The crowd went crazy when ASU player Caylyn Carlson hit a grand slam homer in the first inning and their excitement never waned throughout the game.

What was even more interesting to me from a marketing standpoint was that the marketing team at the venue kept the entire experience moving and entertaining. It was like they were formatting/programming a local radio station. The women on the field were the records/songs, the stadium announcer was the DJ (keeping the momentum moving forward), there were commercials and contests involving local business and winners between the innings and they even recycled the audience with a bounce-back for the next home game (if you brought your current ticket to the next game you would receive a $2.00 discount). As any good programmer will tell you, you must have forward momentum on the radio station and keep the listeners engaged. That is precisely what happened last night at the game. We had so much fun that I can hardly wait to go to the next game.

ASU delivered! Not just because they won, but because they won new fans last night and provided a great experience. They marketed their product well to young, aspiring, female softball players, their coaches and parents. It was a great family event; affordable, entertaining, easy-free parking, and great competition between two talented teams. We left wanting more.


Saturday, April 12, 2008

Norm Lives on Through The People He Touched

Last week the valley broadcasting community lost a good friend and great advocate. Norm Ginsburg passed away at 83.

Fran and I met Norm nearly twenty years ago when he retired from CBS and moved to Arizona and taught at ASU. By then Fran and I had both graduated and were in the work force. Norm was teaching sales and marketing at ASU.

He was a unique professor. He had real-world experience yet he realized that the best way for the students to learn about the ever evolving broadcasting business was to bring in guest speakers from each industry to speak with his students about what it was really like out there in the real world. Norm really cared about his students and wanted them to know how it really was and what the factors for success were.

Fran, myself, many of our friends, associates and competitors made the annual pilgrimage to Tempe to speak in Norm's class. As a gesture of Norm's appreciation, there was always a buffet lunch at the Tempe Mission Palms after the lecture.

It was during those lunches, that I went back to school. You see, just as the students were learning from all of the professionals that spoke in class, I was learning from Norm. His wisdom and story's were always interesting and insightful.

On a more personal note, Fran and I along with our girls were fortunate to have Norm in our lives. Norm and Connie joined us for many holidays and celebrations. They had become part of our family.

The Cronkite school has a nice biography on Norm. Read it here ==>

After the memorial service, in true broadcasting fashion Jack Ginsberg, Norm's son invited everyone next door to Julio G's to have a drink in Norm's honor. I can't help but think that Norm was looking over and enjoying the fact that his family, friends, colleagues, broadcasters and students were all together not just celebrating his life, but talking about the business.

My friend Ed Olsen gave a fitting tribute to Norm at the service and he spoke about what Norm meant to him. The reality is, that Ed's words articulated the essence of Norm Ginsburg and what he meant to all of us.

Date: April 11, 2008
By: Ed Olsen

It is humbling to stand before such a distinguished group. I am honored to be able to share my thoughts on this day of remembrance. I most certainly want to thank each and every one of you for taking time to say goodbye to our friend and colleague…Norm Ginsburg.

In the many years that I knew Norm he never once took credit for the many lives he changed or the impact he had on the advertising industry in this market and beyond. He understood the role of an educator and many of us were blessed to have received his tutelage. Our seemingly unlikely friendship was really not the least bit odd…you see like many of you…when we were together Norm would speak…and I…would learn.

16 years ago Norm Ginburg ambled into my life with an awkward gait, the largest binder I had ever seen tucked under his sleeve and armed with his indelible look of determination. I purposefully sat in the back as I had no interest in the subject…there was no way I was going to “sell” anything…which actually did ring true in 3rd quarter 2007.

Norm’s stories (a few of which I heard more than once) his guidance, his passion for the business, peppered with a virtual who’s who of guest speakers (some of which are here today) made the class tolerable…then mildly interesting…and at the end…absolutely fascinating. I can remember one day near the end of the semester…Norm and I were talking about my future…he asked if I had a picture of my wife in my wallet. I produced one and after looking at it for an almost uncomfortable amount of time…Norm deadpanned…you better get into sales if you expect to keep her.

Norm taught us that selling advertising wasn’t about being slick or disingenuous. It was about being a good listener, dressing and acting professional, creating relationships and HAVING FUN…This is what I learned from Norm Ginsburg.

After graduation I was afforded a sales job the Greater Phoenix Interconnect…which became CableRep and is now Cox Media. Shortly after I began selling Norm invited me to lunch and asked me to bring a presentation. He wanted me to give him the presentation as practice in order for me to improve my sales skills. Nervously I brought a presentation I was giving to a prospective client later that day. As I started to go through it Norm reached over and took the binder away from me. He then looked at me and said “go on....” I fumbled through all I could remember…when I finished he looked at me with his steely eyes and said….”if you don’t know it by heart then you don’t know it…if you don’t know it…you can’t sell it.

Norm and I spoke and met often over the years. He was a cherished friend. I was so very fortunate for having him be a significant part of my life. When it became evident that he was nearing his end…he made it a point to make sure and tell me how special each and everyone of you are.

I’m not sure why God calls our loved ones home. I can do without this pain…this great sense of loss. Maybe God is trying to remind us that we should keep our lives in proper perspective, treat people right, nurture our friendships, cherish our loved ones, and invest in ourselves and into our families.

I will remember Norm through our deep and long conversations. His ever so insightful guidance…his ever so relative stories….and the sparkle in his eyes when he was about to deadpan one of his clever quips.

Rest easy Norm…your work here is done…thanks…from all of us….thanks….we’ll see you in heaven.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Fresh Trends for Audio and Digtal Plaforms

I had an opportunity this morning to view and listen to the webinar presentation of the The Infinite Dial 2008: Radio’s Digital Platforms. This is an annual research study conducted by Arbitron and Edison Research.

There were no great surprises in the study. Having two daugters ten and thirteen I could have told you that 73% of teens have an iPod/portable mp3 player.

The audio consumption habits of consumers is changing due to the lower cost of access to new technology and internet connectivity. With all the changes in the audio landscape, AM/FM terrestrial radio continues to have a BIG impact in people's lives.

The study also confirms what I had written in a previous post regarding the growth and future of social networking, finding that nearly one in four Americans have a personal profile on a social network like Myspace, Facebook, LinkedIn or other social networks.

If you are a research and tech junkie like I am, you should take a look at the study. Arbitron and Edison did a great job of outlining everything with easy to understand graphs.

Click Here to see the complete study.

Here are the Key findings from The Infinite Dial 2008: Radio’s Digital Platforms:

The weekly online radio audience increased in the past year to an estimated 33 million. Thirteen percent of the U.S. population age 12 and older have listened to online radio in the past week; up from eleven percent (approximately 29 million) in 2007. On a weekly basis, online radio reaches more than one in seven 25- to 54-year olds (15%).

AM/FM radio continues to have a big impact on people’s lives. The study asked consumers to rate the impact different digital audio platforms has on their lives. More than one in five (21 percent) consumers said radio has a big impact on their lives; ranking second only to mobile phones (33 percent) as the audio platform/device that has the biggest impact on people’s lives.

iPod/Portable MP3 player ownership continues dramatic growth. Nearly four in ten (37 percent) own an iPod or other brand of portable MP3 player; up from 30 percent in 2007 and more than two and a half times the number in 2005 (14 percent). Nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of those ages 12-17 own a digital audio player.

Audio podcasting usage continues to increase along side the proliferation of iPod/MP3 player ownership. Eighteen percent have ever listened to an audio podcast; up from 13 percent in 2007. Nine percent have listened to an audio podcast in the past month (an estimated 23 million).

More than four in ten weekly online radio listeners have a profile on a social networking Web site. Those who regularly listen to online radio are much more likely to participate in social networks; 41 percent of weekly online radio listeners report having an online social networking profile (compared to 24 percent of the total 12+ population); more than one-third (37%) visit social networking sites nearly once per day or more.

The Internet is gaining on radio as the medium to learn about new music. In 2008, radio is mentioned as the medium “you turn to first to learn about new music” by about half of consumers (49 percent), with Internet at 25 percent. In 2002, radio was mentioned by nearly two-thirds of consumers (63 percent) for this perception, while only nine percent mentioned Internet.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

To Syndicate or Not to Syndicate.. That is the Question?

“Roy Williams from the Wizard of Ads writes in his April 7th “Monday Morning Memo” that syndicated morning shows are the way of the future for local radio stations. An interesting thought with a lot of merit.

William says….

Syndication came to television 50 years ago. Networks like ABC, CBS and NBC offered local TV stations better shows than they were able to produce themselves. And these better shows were cheaper than local productions. The viewers won. The stations won. Television became much more profitable. National advertisers loved placing ads in hot, national shows.

In the past, national shows have been the exception in radio, rather than the rule.

They’re about to be the rule.

I predict that half of America’s morning drive jocks will soon be replaced by 10 or 12 syndicated morning shows beamed in from somewhere else. This will happen in other dayparts as well.

Frankly, I’m in favor of it.

Wait! I hear the voices of broadcasters clamoring, “But radio is local. Our listeners want local. Syndication is anti-radio.”

I respond, "Listen to the people of your town. Are they saying, 'We don’t want Desperate Housewives, Grey’s Anatomy, American Idol, and Lost! We want the local TV shows?'

"Are they saying, 'We don’t want Spiderman, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Lord of the Rings in our theaters! We want the local movies?'”

"Are they saying, 'We don’t want Rush Limbaugh and Howard Stern, we want a local political pundit and a local shock jock?"

Read Williams Memo….

Before joining MEGA five years ago, I was running The Edge in Phoenix. We carried Howard Stern. We simulcasted his show on two bad signals. I can tell you now, it was a pain in the ass to listen to, especially if you were driving across town and the signal would fade away and then you would have to change frequencies to pick up the station again. Guess what? People listened!!!! Howard was consistently #1 in key demos. Why? Because his content was compelling, relevant and entertaining to the listeners. We also did a good job localizing the show with “Pistol Pete” interacting with listeners on the street each morning and doing call-ins during local breaks.

Today at Mega, we have seen great success airing the Art Laboe Killer Oldies request and dedication show syndicated every Sunday night from Hollywood. When it became available during the week, we sat on the sidelines for a while to see what happened in other markets. Interestingly enough it did quite well in the key female demos in markets that we watched. In mid February, we added the show to our weekday line-up from 8p – 12m. Not surprising, our phones lit up with callers excited about the change. The preliminary research that we have seen indicates that we made the right decision to add this syndicated show.

Through the years radio has always had to adapt to the changing environment. Radio has and will change with the times. For years I have been a strong proponent of live local radio shows and I still believe that today. Although, I do feel that there can be a place on local radio stations for syndicated programs. The key is, it has to be relevant to the listeners.

Mark Ramsey of Mercury Radio Research and “Hear 2.0” blogger has an interesting perspective…“Goodbye local talent (unless it really is "talent"), hello syndicated talent (which will really have to be "talent"). Broadcasters will increasingly distinguish between providing local service and having a jock in the local studio, which are certainly not the same thing.”

Monday, April 7, 2008

The Rock of Chicago....WLS

Spending the first 18 years of my life in Chicago, I grew up listening to "The Rock of Chicago", legendary 50,000 watt, The BIG 89 WLS, in the mid 60’s and 70’s. This was a special time in radio, a time when there was no internet, cable or satellite TV, video’s, CD’s or Ipods. All you had was a stereo, with a turntable and cassette in your bedroom. If you were lucky enough to have your own car, you had a Pioneer Super Tuner in it (the car stereo was usally worth more than the car). The music was great, but the DJ’s were better.

This past Memorial Day weekend (2007) WLS which is now a conservative talk station had their BIG 89 Rewind, an on-air reunion bringing back many of the old personalities including Larry Lujack, Tommy Edwards, Fred Winston, Chris Shebel, Lyle Dean, John Records Landecker and more. These are the personalities that made radio sound fun and inspired me and many of my peers to get into the biz!

Art Vuolo “Radio’s Best Friend” documented the event on video. This is ten minutes of great radio. These guys are as passionate today as they were back in the day and they're having as much fun too. If you are a fan of “Chicago” or old “Boss” Top 40 radio you have to watch this video.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

The Kind of Advertising You Don't Want....Don't Piss an Old Man Off

In an Earlier post I talked about getting free advertising by having people become evangelists for your product or service. This can work against you too, if your service is bad. I experienced this first hand during a conversation I had with my father yesterday.

Here’s the story and the background on the conversation. My parents live in Chicago, we live in Arizona. We were on vacation last weekend and I took a lot of pictures of the kids. I loaded them up to my Flickr account and wanted to share them with my parents. All they had to do was log on to the internet and view them. The problem is that they only have a dial-up account and it takes forever to load the pictures.

I suggested to my father that he get a high speed internet connection and he told me that he was waiting for AT&T to have service in their neighborhood. I suggested that he call Comcast, his cable provider and bundle all his services together. I told him he probably would pay the same or less as he does now and get the high speed internet allowing him to see the pictures, look at his stocks and read the news effortlessly on his computer. Not the slow way that he does now.

His exact words to me were..... “I don’t want to give Comcast another dime. As a matter of fact, if it wasn’t for your mother, I’d cancel their service.” I guess my mother likes watching the movies.

Being married to someone who is in the cable business and prides herself on the customer service that she and her company provides, this disturbed me. I asked him why he felt that the way. He went on to tell me that there have been many service outages, the picture does not come in clear (I can attest to this, I’ve seen it when I visit) and whenever he calls them and asks for assistance and a credit, they always give him a hard time.

It occurred to me that everyone loses in this deal. My parents lose because they can’t enjoy the benefits of a fast internet connection; Comcast loses because they are losing out on the long term value of a customer, a very vocal customer at that, who is an evangelist for how bad their service is. Not that the collateral damage from my father is going to make a big difference, but if this is happening to a lot of customers it could have a huge adverse impact on their business and make them vulnerable to new competition. Finally, I am losing out because I wanted to put a webcam and microphone on their computer in Chicago so the kids and I can teleconference with them. This is very difficult and not practical with a dial-up service.

The moral of the story is, bad customer service is bad for business. You just don’t know how and who it is going to hurt!

Friday, April 4, 2008

The Internet is Better than a Chamber Mixer

A nice thing happened to me the other day. I received an email in my FaceBook account from Jan, a woman I worked with more than 20 years ago at KNIX. The note said "Mikey", do you remember me? Attached to her email was a picture of herself (I swear it was a picture from when we worked together because she hasn't aged). I was excited to get the note and we traded emails with each other bringing each other up to date on our careers, family and what we have been doing since we last saw each other.

Today, received a note from another friend Melissa. She was one of the first national buyers to place commercials on MEGA more than five years ago. She asked me to join her network on LinkedIn and also asked me to write a recommendation for her that will stay in her LinkedIn Profile. I gladly obliged. This sequence of events has repeated itself many times over the past year or so.

Over the last few years I have reconnected with many old friends, from people I went to camp with, old teachers, people I've worked with and kids I went to school with. All this was done through the internet using search engines like Google, Yahoo and/or social networks.

The implications for social networking are tremendous. Social networks bring people together, by region, school, industry, musical preference and any interest, issue or cause you can think of. LinkedIn, a business professionals site has more than 20 million subscribers across 120 different industries. There are more than 200 social networking sites from the small boutique/niche social networks to the large sites like MySpace which is one of the most viewed websites in North America. Social networking is so big the Rupert Murdoch's Fox paid $580 million for MySpace in 2005.

I subscribe to FaceBook, LinkedIn and Flickr. I also subscribe to a few groups on Yahoo and read a bunch of Blogs and forums on topics ranging from travel to pianos, photography, broadcasting, gadgets and much more. Technology allows me to network from anywhere with people anywhere anytime of the day. For me, this is nothing more than a modern day network mixer on steroids.

Social networking is fun, practical and will play a big role in our future!