Thursday, December 17, 2009

My Favorite Gadgets of 2009

I had lunch with my friend Mike today, he knows that I’m gadget geek. He asked me what new gadgets I have? I paused for a second, thought about, it and mentioned a few. As I was driving home tonight, I was pondering the question some more and came up with my list favorite gadgets for the year.

Magic Jack - Cheesy infomercials, but I have to tell you this is great, especially if you travel out of the country. It is a VOIP device that hooks up to your computer that allows you to make phone calls for a low annual fee from anywhere you have an internet connection. You plug the Magic Jack into your computer, plug a phone into the Magic Jack and you are good to go. If you don't have a phone, you can use the computers mic and speakers or plug in a USB headset.

Blackberry Tour – Love this phone, especially with the 3.2 mega pixel camera and expanded memory for videos and music. It is a 3G phone as well, so you can use it internationally tool. I have the Shazam app on it so I can identify songs that are playing within earshot of me. Also, have an app called Nobex Radio Companion which allows me to see what song and or commercial are being played on just about every radio station in the country in real time, there is also a streaming feature to this too. My favorite app is called Tetherberry. Tetherberry allows me to use my Blackberry as a wireless broadband modem and hook it up to my laptop when I travel. The other day I took the Amtrak train from Downtown Los Angeles to San Diego and had an internet connection the entire time. I needed Tetherberry because Sprint turned off the modem feature on the phone. Tetherberry bypasses that and taps into your internet/data plan to access broadband.

Audio Technica USB Turntable - This turntable hooks up to my computer and I can play and rip all of my old vinyl to my iTunes and iPod. Lots of fun! And there is a difference between vinyl and cd’s!!!

Minio Flip HD video recorder – This is a cool gadget that fits in your hand and allows you to take HD videos and download them to your computer and beyond.

Garmin Nuvi GPS – I love this and use it even though I had a navigation system built in to the car. It is portable, easy to program and use.

Boston Acoustics Receptor Radio HD – Fun new HD radio that allows me to listen to all of the new HD channels programmed on the over the air Radio stations.

Bose 3-2-1 GS Series III Home Theater System
– This little home theater system has a DVD and storage for hours of music. I also has huge sound. My friend Al, who is an audio freak and purest helped me install this system (that's story is for a future post). He was shocked at the sound that came out of it.

Kindle Wireless Reading Device – Just got this for Fran for Hanukkah. I have not used it yet but I was playing with my friend Michael P’s Kindle in Los Angeles and it was really cool. I like the fact that you can download books, magazines and newspapers wirelessly from just about anywhere.

32 inch flat screen monitor – I turned 50 this year and was having trouble seeing what was on the screen of my seven year old notebook computer at work. I broke down and got this huge monitor that has a webcam built into it. I can see again and video chat on Skype and I chat too.

HD TV Tuner with remote – This device plugs into my computer and has an external antenna along with a cable connection and it turns my MacBook into an HD TV and DVR. Another fun toy to travel with.

There you have it, my list of favorite gadgets for the year

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Lessons Learned From Small Market Radio

I had the great honor of being invited to speak at the American Advertising Federation Black Hills Chapter monthly luncheon this week in Rapid City South Dakota. I was asked to give my impression on the future of radio and what broadcasters needed to do to be successful. If you know anything about radio people, you know that we love to talk about radio and give our opinions. So I jumped at the opportunity to speak with the group. Although, I didn’t quite think it through when Josh Barsch invited me a few months ago, I did not take into account that it would be snowy and -2 degrees when the plane landed.

Nonetheless, the group in Rapid City was terrific, a great bunch of advertising pros. While I hope that I imparted some relevant and practical information, I realized that we can learn a lot from the pros in the smaller markets.

I had the opportunity to meet Michael and Lisa from a local radio group. They have been at the stations for more than ten years each. They have created great relationships and equity in the market with their clients, non-profits and community leaders. These people get it. They are in the trenches everyday and doing things right. They are big on service and providing value and results to their customers.

Just as in most markets across the country, revenue is down due to the economy but not down nearly as much as it is in the larger markets. I realized that these people are successful, because they are dotting the I’s and crossing the t’s. They are doing the basics and doing it quite well. They don’t rely on a lot of agency / transactional business; they are knocking on doors, the doors of the service categories and local retailers. They are selling ROI not CPP or CPM. Wow, how refreshing. Oh, and by the way, they all seemed passionate about what they were doing too!

Josh and Nicole from the AAF were very gracious and thanked me for speaking. I should be the one thanking them. While I guess I was supposed to be the professor, I was also the student while visiting the Black Hills and for that I am grateful.

Thanks AAF Black Hills Chapter!

And a side note. I was interviewed by the local FOX TV affiliate KEVN. Click here to see they story that ran last night at 10PM in Rapid City.

Friday, June 26, 2009

A Bitter Sweet Day - Michael Jackson

A bitter sweet day.. very sad to hear about Michael Jackson, yet very proud of our staff at MEGA 104.3 for the way they mobilized and reported on the tragedy. Beau Duran our PD articulated things well in a memo to the staff.

"As you know Michael Jackson died today in LA. We went into immediate tribute mode as soon as the news broke. I want to take a moment to thank Angie for staying on top of the story all day and hanging out late to stay on the air with me, J.B. for calling in with updates as the news broke and Alex for coming in this afternoon to share some memories and play some of MJ’s greatest songs.

Moving forward Friday and this weekend we are not going to stop paying tribute to Mega’s most well known artist. On Friday morning Alex will be doing his thing from 5-8. I will handle the 8AM hour and from that point until 5PM we will be spicing in a handful of MJ songs each hour along with our normal rotation. Perry is going to do a special all MJ Old School workout. At 5PM we’re going to start a “King of Pop” weekend where we will do basically the same thing. Play a few MJ records each hour amongst our normal scheduling thru Sunday afternoon.

Throughout the course of the next few days, I want to make sure we are talking to our listeners on the air plenty. Getting their thoughts on MJ and remembering the world’s most successful artist together. Michael Jackson is OUR artist. We play more of his music than any other station in town.

EVERY one of our listeners grew up with Michael. He was truly a member of the Mega family and we should act likewise on the air. For the next few days we are not a radio station. We are a vehicle to let our listeners have a voice. We need to turn off the “DJ” in us and just have a conversation with people. Open up and talk about how this affects you...let the listeners in and they will do the same".

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


As many of you know, I am on the board of the Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS. Please join Fran and I May 9th for the center’s annual Night for Life Gala.

Night For Life 2009: Building on the Past, Building For the Future

Night for Life is the Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS's annual black-tie gala featuring silent and live auctions, dinner and live entertainment. The 14th annual event, chaired by Lisa Molina and Tom Betz with honorary chair Janice Borovay Montana, focuses on building capacity to expand programs and services to fight HIV/AIDS and support those who are impacted. The gala will be held on Saturday, May 9th, 2009 at The Phoenician. Entertainment will be provided by Tony award winner and actor Harvey Fierstein.

Tickets start at $350 and tables of 10 at $3,500. For more information about Night for Life, to make a donation to the auction or to purchase tickets or a table, please contact the Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS Development Team at (602) 307-5330 or e-mail Helen Tanner at To purchase tickets online, please choose from the secure PayPal options below. To purchase multiple tickets or a table of 10, simply change the quantity of tickets purchased on the paypal screen.

The Gala is lots of fun with great people. Your attendance will support a great organization. If you can’t attend the event, please consider purchasing a raffle ticket for a Luxurious Sedona Retreat. Here is a link for more information. Click here for more info:

Thanks in advance and we hope to see you on the 9th. Please feel free to call me or email me for more info.


Venue:The Phoenician Resort
Time:6:00PM Saturday, May 9th

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

I have a lot of friends who email me crazy stuff each week. I decided that I would start a blog that included the best of the wakee stuff that I get . Thus, the creation of

This is a collection of pictures, articles, emails, stories, videos etc. There is no political agenda here and posts might not be politically correct. They are just things that I find interesting, funny and thought provoking!

If you would like to contribute to the blog, send your wakee stuff to me at

Tell your friends, family, neighbors and coworkers about the site....... sign up on your news readers or get the blog emailed to you every time it is updated.



Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Good News From Our Friends to the North

Radio consultant Jaye Albright, highlights in her Breakfast Blog, recent findings from Canada's Radio Marketing Bureau.

This research is pretty consistent with our own RAB's findings as well.

Great info for radio sellers everywhere!
2009 Foundation Research: Radio connects anytime, anywhere
According to the annual Foundation Research study of 1,012 Canadians, radio reaches 90% of adults 18+ every week. Lifestyle plays a big role in radio’s performance - the more active you are the more radio you listen to; working Canadians, parents and the affluent are all above average in terms of radio tuning with weekly reach of 94% or better.
“Radio plays an integral part in everyday life; it accompanies every activity, from driving and working to surfing online. No other single media can match radio for its versatility, audience characteristics and its unique ability to reach consumers anytime, anywhere.” -- Chris Bandak of Foundation Research.
Highlights of the study include:

· 81% of adults listen to radio daily, second only to TV in reach potential. The percentage listening increases to 84% or more for working adults, wealthy Canadians and women with children.

· For 83% of adults, radio use in 2008 increased or stayed the same as the previous year; that percentage is equal to the internet and higher than newspapers (79%) and TV (76%). The main reasons for increased tuning are more time spent in car, longer commutes and the ability to listen at work.

· Adults spend more time with radio than any other media during a typical work day. They listen to traditional radio an average of 125 minutes and online radio for 34 minutes. Radio’s total of 159 minutes is 23% more than TV and approximately double that of the Internet.

· Radio accompanies Canadians throughout their busy day.

- 70% of Canadians listen to radio on the drive to work, school or shopping
- Radio ranks highest of all media reaching consumers prior to a shopping occasion
- 36% listen to radio while surfing the internet

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Over The Top Service

Fran and I were fortunate enough to attend the Superbowl this past weekend in Tampa. We stayed in Orlando at the Yacht Club at Disney World. While the outcome of the game wasn't what we hoped for, the service at the resort was more than we expected.

The people at Disney have authored the book on total customer service. From the moment we pulled into the resort we were greeted and treated like a valued guest. Everyone from the doorman to the maids in the hall always had big smiles, said hello followed by the statement, "Have a Magical Day".

What was most refreshing was how the staff would go above and beyond to cater to your every need. I had left the battery charger to my camera at home. I went to the front desk to see where the nearest store was to go buy one. The front desk manager said that they have a whole basket of chargers behind the desk and she would check to see if they had one that would work for my camera. Unfortunately they did not have one that worked for my Canon camera.

What she did next, blew me away. She said that she had a Canon camera at home and that she would be more than happy to take my battery home with her, charge and return it to me the next morning, then loan me the charger for the duration of my visit. I have never met this woman before in my life and I could not believe that she was willing to do that. As it turned out her charger was for a different battery, But just the thought that she was willing to do that for me was unbelievable.

The good news was that the battery lasted all weekend and we got some great pictures from the parties we attended and the game.

My battery experience was followed up with another great experience I had looking for a pool party at the resort. I had mistakenly gone to the wrong pool ( I think that there were three pools there). I asked the maintenance man at the pool for directions to the correct location. Instead of giving me directions, he personally escorted my to the right pool. Wow!!

The front desk manager did not have to offer to charge my battery for me and the maintenance man did not have to escort me to the right location. But they did and that is why Disney is a huge success and has an incredible reputation for customer service.

Disney has even created a cottage industry on business and customer service through the Disney Institute where you "Experience the Business Behind the Magic"

In business, we should go the extra mile, it goes a long way and yields BIG benefits!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The "Multi Media" Inauguration By the Numbers

I read with interest the "TV By the Numbers website" today and they announced according to Nielsen ratings that The Obama inauguration was watched by 37.8 million, second only to Reagan’s 41.8 million in 1981. The story went on to say that News websites at their peak had 5.4 million visitors at per minute at it's peak.

Personally, I took advantage of all the different mediums on Inauguration Day. In the morning on the way to work, I listened to the radio, in the office, I listened on the radio and I watched with great interest via the internet on my computer, back in the car on the way to an appointment, I was listening on the radio again. As a side note there was absolutely NO traffic on the roads as I drove from downtown Scottsdale to downtown Phoenix during President Obama's speech.

Throughout the day while not near a radio, TV or internet computer, I was checking the Inauguration news on various news websites through my Blackberry. When I got home in the evening, I watched the entire inauguration and subsequent festivities (six hours) on my DVR which I had recorded earlier in the day.

Furthermore, I have been to youtube numerous times to watch President Obama's speech, the flub on his swearing in and the featured music from the Inauguration.

According to the Washington Post, while the Regan Inauguration of 1981 might of had more television viewers than Obama's, there were actually more viewers when you aggregate television and internet viewing? Their math comes out to more than 49 million viewers. I don't know if that even includes DVR/TiVo viewing too.

Either way, It's official, we live in a multi-media world. Even our new President carries a Blackberry!

Here are the links to the stats:

Updated: Will Obama break 1981 Reagan record for inauguration Nielsen ratings? No.

From Nixon to Bush 43: Presidential Inauguration Ratings

Obama Inauguration 5th Most Watched Net Event Ever

With Right Math, Inauguration Is Second to None

Finally, I thought that the music during the Inauguration was extraordinary. Here are the links to Aretha Franklin singing "America' My Country Tis Of Thee" and "Air and Simple Gifts" arranged by John Williams for the Inauguration and preformed by Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman, Anthony McGill & Gabriela Montero.

Click on the links below to watch and listen:

Aretha Franklin singing "America' My Country Tis Of Thee"

"Air and Simple Gifts" arranged by John Williams and preformed by Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman, Anthony McGill & Gabriela Montero.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Maximize Every Opportunity

As we start the new year, there seems to be a lot of discussion about rate integrity or lack there of at radio stations. I wanted to share my opinion on the issue with you.

For as long as I have been a sales manager or General Manager at radio stations, I have always had a simple philosophy about pricing our commercial inventory. It is a philosophy that I have tried to instill with our team as well. It is summed up in three words, “Maximize Every Opportunity”.

This is a concept that I first learned in high school economics and then again in college. Maximizing Every Opportunity is nothing more than the law of supply and demand. If you have an abundance of inventory and limited pressure or demand, stimulate demand by adjusting your rates down until there is more pressure on your inventory, thus putting you in a sell out situation. Conversely, if you have a limited inventory with heavy pressure, you raise your rates to slow down demand so you don’t sell out to soon. In both cases, you are getting the highest rates based on the current conditions. Thus, Maximizing Every Opportunity!

This yield management concept is very similar to the pricing structure of the airlines, hotels and other industries that deal with products or services that are perishable.

While I understood the laws of supply and demand it did not crystallize with me until my first sales managers’ job back at KOOL AM/FM in the mid 80’s. It was amazing how this simple concept of “Maximizing Every Opportunity” actually generated additional revenue. I'm not talking about an insignificant amount of revenue either. I'm talking about serious money, hundreds of thousands of dollars of distressed inventory that at other radio stations that prided themselves on rate integrity would have let this go unsold. What we did then and continue to do today is give our customers a fair deal and the best rates and advertising packages based on the current station and market conditions.

It is very interesting to see the way our competitors are reacting to the current economic climate and market conditions. Stations in town that have always prided themselves on having rate integrity and driving the highest rates are suddenly realizing that in order to maximize their opportunity’s they have to attack the rate issue from both sides now by adjusting their rates (sometimes dramatically) to market conditions.

This is smart on their part. My only regret is that they finally figured it out!

It goes without saying that in order to succeed in today’s economy you have to do all the right things. You must have a product that gets results for clients, provide great customer service, be innovative with campaigns, creative, added value and so on. But you also need to be nimble with your rate structure and “Maximize Every Opportunity” even if it means adjusting your rates lower. In the long run, you win!

Airlines have one day sales and last minute e-saver fares, why cant radio stations be able to do the same. They can, and the smart operators do!

Jim Taszarek has had some discussions both pro and con on this topic in his daily news letters. subscribe here: