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 ABC.com 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, CNN.com or Foxnews.com. Although, when they log onto their myspace and FaceBook accounts there are links to RocktheVote.com and ads for all of the candidates both nationally and locally. On the home page of MTV.com 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 thegreatschlep.com. 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 @ http://twitter.com/michaelmallace.

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!