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January 22, 2010

Why Air America Failed: Superb Assessment by RBR

Filed under: Business expertise,Entertainment — Laurie Morrow, Ph.D. @ 9:48 pm
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Radio Business Report offers a superb assessment of why Air America failed:  they had a terrible business plan.

In the wake of Air America Media shutting down, there has been much gnashing of teeth over the loss of a “progressive” counter to the allegedly entrenched “right-wing” control of talk radio. But the real reason Air America failed has nothing to do with politics – at least not with politics as content.

Quite simply, Air America failed in the radio BUSINESS because it was never run by radio people. From the very beginning the venture was run by liberal ideologues who were on a quest to rescue America from Rush Limbaugh and prevent a return to Reaganism. Oddly enough, Ronald Reagan Jr. actually ended up being on their side and was one of the hosts who lost his job in the shutdown.

We angered the original founders in 2004 by declaring that their business plan was flawed and couldn’t work. As it turned out, it was even more flawed than we realized, since the actual cash committed to the project was a tiny fraction of what had been publicly claimed.

Over the years, Air America has careened from financial crisis to financial crisis, from owner to owner and even one Chapter 11 bankruptcy before the current Chapter 7 liquidation. Through it all one thing was consistent – the political ideologues were running the show and the broadcasters involved were merely hired hands.

You can read the rest of this column here.

January 8, 2010

Estonian TV Parody of The Simpsons

Filed under: advertising,Entertainment,Television,Uncategorized — Laurie Morrow, Ph.D. @ 6:13 pm
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This advertisement for Estonia’s Channel 3 is a charming parody of The Simpsons.

Thanks to Karl Altau of JBANC!

January 5, 2010

CBS Dumps Reporter for Actor: No News Here

Filed under: Entertainment,Television — Laurie Morrow, Ph.D. @ 4:00 pm
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In yet another attempt to propel CBS News into oblivion, the once-great network has replaced the legendary voice of Walter Cronkite with that of actor Morgan Freeman.

Freeman is a terrific actor.  He has a wonderful, sonorous voice that’s a pleasure to listen to.

But he’s an actor. He’s not a newsman — much less a legendary newsman.

What CBS has tossed away casually is brand identity, something enormously difficult to build and near impossible to recapture, once lost.  CBS News’s brand identity once rested on credibility, which is what Cronkite delivered to his audience.  Cronkite did this so well that he ultimately transcended his day job, becoming  an emblem of serious, credible reporting.  Try as they might, no other network has produced a broadcast news person of equal stature and influence.  Cronkite set not the gold but the platinum standard for the business, endowing CBS News with a reputation other networks could only envy.

Rather than continue to exploit this amazing asset, however, CBS leadership has tossed it aside, like yesterday’s newspaper.

That they’ve replaced the voice of a reporter — someone who investigates events and crafts their presentation — with the voice of an actor — someone who reads  whatever script is handed him — summarizes nicely what’s gone amuk at CBS, and why audiences are turning elsewhere for information.


December 19, 2009

Garrison Keillor, Grinch

Garrison Keillor has always struck me as mean-spirited, wrapping a fundamentally smug and condescending world view in a fondant of cutesy-poo irony.

Now, thanks to Glenn Reynolds‘ posting of Marissa Brostoff’s TABLET MAGAZINE column, “Garrison Keillor Doesn’t Like Jews Writing Christmas Songs,” others may also reassess their opinion of NPR’s favorite son.  Brostoff describes Keillor’s recent Baltimore Sun column, in which he complains about

“all those lousy holiday songs by Jewish guys that trash up the malls every year, Rudolph and the chestnuts and the rest of that dreck.  Did one of our guys write ‘Grab your loafers, coma along if you wanna, and we’ll blow that shofar for Rosh Hashanah’?”

Anyone capable of writing a column like this doesn’t ‘get’ Christmas — unlike Irving Berlin, who very clearly did.

October 27, 2009

Microsoft’s Abandonment of ‘Family Guy’: Smarter Than It Seems?

Filed under: Computing,Entertainment,Television — Laurie Morrow, Ph.D. @ 2:01 pm
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In today’s Ad Age, Michael Learmonth reports that Microsoft has pulled out of their Family Guy promotion deal with Seth MacFarlane.

So, Microsoft was shocked, shocked! to discover that the usual suspects were doing that which they’re famous for doing.

Perhaps they were as surprised as they claim.  Perhaps they were as ignorant of the show as most people assume.

Or, perhaps, not.

Presumably, somewhere in the fine print of the deal, Microsoft’s attorneys will have included a clause to the effect that Microsoft need not pay at all — or will pay only a modest amount — for a work product it deems unusable.

The deal resulted in Microsoft’s enjoying considerable buzz in one of their primary markets — college students – probably at minimal cost, and certainly without offending their main focus, the business market, which would be likely to respond with considerably less enthusiasm to yuks about incest and the disabled than the kegophiles at Kappa Kappa Kappa.

Seth MacFarlane comes out of the deal with, one assumes, considerably less money than he’d anticipated this relationship would produce.  Assuming he wants this work product to produce additional revenue for him, he has a complex editing task ahead of him, excising every mention of Microsoft.

I wouldn’t be at all surprised to learn that he’s contemplating adding to all the computers pictured the symbol for a different company – say, “Peachy Computing.”

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