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April 15, 2007 - April 21, 2007 Archives

April 15, 2007


We arrived in Las Vegas this afternoon, in fairly incident-free fashion- no real traffic jams, despite periods of misty, annoying rain and the usual erratic driving up the 15 all the way to Flamingo. We checked in, got the good wing upgrade, unpacked, then did what everyone does in Vegas.

That would be the buffet.

We went to the Mirage's buffet this time, because we'd never tried it and it looked kinda interesting, a modern, trendy-looking room. I'm sitting here right now, typing on my cell phone because I hit the wall hard after sushi, barbecued tri-tip, pizza, gelato, and other items I choose not to remember at the moment. I broke my own rule- you gotta pace yourself. I didn't. Blame the tri-tip.

So far, the place is crawling with engineers. I see them everywhere with their tell-tale wardrobe: polyester gimme shirt, khakis or jeans, convention badge, convention tote bag. The brokers and power elite are over at the Bellagio. My hotel is for the equipment-manufacturer elite. The engineers end up at the Rio or the Aladdin if someone else is paying, or the Sahara or Trop if they're paying for it themselves. Or Circus Circus.

But my NAB2007 experience starts tomorrow. I don't really start feeling uncomfortable and hateful until the show starts in earnest. Tonight is for just feeling happy to get away, happy to be in Vegas and eating unlimited amounts and sitting here at the Mirage buffet next to a newlywed couple still in wedding gown and tux and enjoying the act of digestion.

The "fun" begins tomorrow.


April 16, 2007


Why I don't have time for a full dissection of today's NAB2007 goings-on: the convention's Internet access was down.

Yes, a convention for the communication industry lost its Internet access. I'm not kidding. I spent two hours in the press room with an Ethernet cable in my laptop, forlornly trying time after time to get any kind of connection. No dice. No work, either. So here I am just finishing up work in the late evening. No parties, no fun, just work in a hotel room all evening because I couldn't write my column all day.

Why, yes, I AM annoyed. How could you tell?

I'll tell you more if I can get more Net time tomorrow. Otherwise, it might have to wait until I get back to California. Right now, I'm going to take a shot at a few hours of sleep. That would be a novelty.


April 17, 2007


The theme of the NAB2007 convention this year is different from last year. Two years ago, the theme was "We Don't Know What's About To Hit Us." Last year, the prevailing theme was "We Know What's About To Hit Us, But We Don't Know What To Do About It." This year, it's "Here's What We're Going To Do About It: We're Going To Change The Words We Use To Describe EVerything." No, really, NAB President and CEO David K. Rehr proclaimed Monday that the problem, as he sees it, is that the "other side" has painted radio and broadcast TV as old and out of it and itself as hot, hip, and young, so he wants to come up with better marketing. He likes how IBOC digital radio became "HD Radio," because HD Radio's become so popular with all the kids- why, every kid is walking around with an HD Radio, right? (Ask 10 people on the street what HD Radio is and see how close they come)

This year, it feels, is a holding pattern. The TV people seem to be waiting for all hell to break loose when the digital transition hits in 2009. The radio people seem to be waiting for the saellite merger ruling and the ownership rules and who knows what else. The Web and user-generated-content people are waiting for the money to trickle down to them. And everybody's waiting to see if Eric Schmidt can pull off his plan to dominate the world, at least where advertising is concerned.

The NAB (and the companion RTNDA convention) was full of guys telling you how to move your radio or TV station into the new interactive special age. There were entire sections of the convention devoted to podcasts, streaming, and Web sites, which is a good thing, except nobody seemed to have an answer for how to make money with any of it. That isn't the public's problem- they'll enjoy the bounty of more content, even if some of it is just video of guys getting hit in the balls. But as a content provider, I wanted to hear how to get someone to pay me to write, or draw, or shoot video, or do my own stream. The answer: maybe in ten years. Until then, you're on your own.

Seriously, there were good, provocative sessions, like the one moderated by CHRIS MATTHEWS!!!! (actually restraining his shouting for once) with Jeff Jarvis, Joe Trippi, and Hugh Hewitt, among others, discussing how this election season may see more YouTubery and Facebookery and a lot less spending on broadcast media. And I never get tired of the dissection of the Portable People Meter numbers, even though I'd seen Gary Marince's presentation already; this time, he, Holland Cooke, and Steve Butler delved deeper into the Philly tests and came up with some interesting results.

But mostly, it was frustration- frustration that nobody is really coming up with the monetizing solution, frustration that the convention's web access was down for much of Monday, frustration that there were so many besuited, repressed guys- Imus' audience!- wandering around, frustrated that I lost my prescription reading glasses, frustrated that I couldn't cover three events at once. Frazzled, exhausted, upset- I did it all.

And I get to go home tomorrow. There's more, but I need to digest it first. Maybe I'll remember some of it tomorrow.


April 18, 2007


Well, yes, I was in a bad mood all week.

And then CNN's Jerry DeMink mentioned that there was a little gathering going oon at the Hard Rock.

And Lyle Lovett would be playing.

And we went over there, and, indeed, there he was. He did "I've Been To Memphis." He did "That's No Lady, That's My Wife." He did "If I Had a Boat" and "Church" and "That's Right (You're Not From Texas)" and lots more.

And a very good time was had by all, including me. (Thanks, Jerry)

Look- Lyle!:

Nothing much more for tonight- I just got back from Vegas, and, boy, can I not do the "arms tired" joke because we drove (through really high winds and the occasional sand storm). Good to be home.


April 20, 2007


This week's All Access newsletter spans the globe to bring you the constant variety of radio:

This week, I'll answer the ten questions on everybody's mind. Let's begin, shall we?

1. What did you learn from the NAB convention this week?

Learn? Not much. It was mostly an extension of what I already know- the business is changing, you'd better change, too, and since nobody's figured out how to pay your salary while you're on that cutting edge, you need to get a second job in another cutting-edge industry like, say, selling all of your worldly possessions on eBay. Meanwhile, the NAB President/CEO told us that reframing and rebranding, which, if I can decipher my notes correctly, will make broadcasting a "new business for a new age with a great future." Or maybe he was talking about El Pollo Loco franchises. I'm not sure. He said that the last year was about listening and the new year will be about "advocacy," which translates to "we're gonna fight that satellite merger." My notes indicate that for some reason he mentioned Sir Winston Churchill, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and Ronald Reagan, but that might just be a list of new hosts at Sirius- can't tell from my handwriting. There were some good nuts-and-bolts sessions, especially at the RTNDA show next door, but other than that, the whole thing was a blur. I suppose I could go back and read what I wrote for All Access and on my blog about it, but I'm a very busy and important man and have much critical work to do, such as watching last Sunday's "Entourage" on the DVR.

2. Oh, come on, what else did you learn?

I learned that losing your prescription reading glasses in the middle of a convention is not a good thing. I learned that the security guards trying to charge people to park at my favorite secret parking spot near the Las Vegas Convention center are now getting to work before 7 am, but are easily distracted. I learned that it's not possible to eat too much gelato.

3. No, I mean, what did you learn about radio?

I don't remember.

4. How about that Imus thing, huh?

Last week. We did that last week.

5. How about that Virginia Tech thing, huh?

It demonstrated how some radio stations know what to do in an emergency and others just don't. Any stations carrying tape-delayed talk shows when the story broke needed to go live, whether with a local host talking about the news or to a network for wall-to-wall coverage. As Monday progressed and the news got progressively more horrific, you had to be talking about it, even working with sketchy information- that's what your listeners were coming to you for, and if you were airing something other than the latest Virginia Tech information, they went elsewhere. If you're running a lot of syndication and especially if some of it is tape-delayed, you need to have an emergency plan in place and you need to train whoever is around, especially board ops, on what to do when massive news is breaking- make sure they can call you, make sure they know when and how to go to the network, make sure you know who you want on the air and how they should handle the coverage. Do that now. Be prepared.

6. Should NBC have aired the Virginia Tech shooter's stuff? Should talk radio stations have aired it?

It makes me uncomfortable- yes, it can't be easy for the families and classmates of the victims to see this stuff, and you run a risk in airing someone's crackpot manifesto and possibly encouraging copycats- but can you honestly say that you didn't want to see and hear it? Not the angelic, politically correct part of you that knows there's nothing in there that you NEED to see or hear. I'm talking about the part of you that sneaks a peek at the car wreck even as you curse the rubberneckers slowing down in front of you. That part of you always wins. I'd hate myself the next morning, but I think I'd play it. I think the thing people want to know the most about situations like this is why it happens; listening to the rant at least explains the extent of mental illness involved.

7. Hey, it's great that you're going to walk with your wife Fran in the Entertainment Industry Foundation Revlon Run/Walk For Women on May 12 in Los Angeles to raise money for women's cancer research and education. How can I join the generous folks who are donating to your walk?

https://www.revlonrunwalk.com/la/secure/MyWebPage.cfm?pID=365992 is the link. Or you can e-mail me at psimon@allaccess.com and I can tell you how to do it by check and regular mail. Thanks for donating.

8. Isn't it time to do the stupid plug for All Access News-Talk-Sports and the Talk Topics column? What's in the column this week?

a) Yes. b) Stories about stuff like dog-oriented vending machines, Alec Baldwin's unfortunate phone call, plenty of post-Virginia Tech school threats, the Great BlackBerry Blackout, the growing market for men's novelty underwear, a really, really, really drunk driver, scalp care for bald guys, a reall alligator-in-the-sewer incident, John Edwards' pricey haircuts, a brand new reason to visit Wisconsin, why China is trying to stop its citizens from spitting, a guy whose dedication to awful fast-food burgers is extreme, and the joys of Cheddarvision, as well as "10 Questions With..." ABC News Radio Special Correspondent Gil Gross, plus the rest of All Access with news and message boards and columns and the Industry Directory and stuff. It's free. Enjoy,

9. What's this week's lame closing joke?

Don't have one.

10. who did you say you are again?

Perry Michael Simon
All Access News-Talk-Sports


April 21, 2007


Remember when restaurants could market themselves by trumpeting their appeal to obese celebrities?

In 1968, they could:

Mmmmm. I can feel my arteries clogging already. And two buck steak- you KNOW it's prime.



From 1969:

Aloha, dude.


About April 2007

This page contains all entries posted to PMSimon.com in April 2007. They are listed from oldest to newest.

April 8, 2007 - April 14, 2007 is the previous archive.

April 22, 2007 - April 28, 2007 is the next archive.

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