Fred Jacobs is President of Jacobs Media, a media research and consulting firm. Jacobs Media clients have included CBS Radio, Premiere Radio Networks, Citadel, Greater Media, MTV Networks, Playboy, Amazon, Electronic Arts, NPR, Sylvan Learning Centers, and Taubman Malls. Learn more about the company here.
Beasing's "Buzz" for April is now posted on our site. If you've never read one of Dave's compendiums of pop culture notes, observations, and oddities, take five minutes and check it out. "Buzz" is always well-written, timely, and yes...buzzworthy. Enjoy the writing and the wit of one real smart guy.
The Jacobs Media Technology Web Poll has been released to participating client stations, and will be making its way into the trades in the coming days and weeks. There's so much data here, that it's difficult to determine the most impressive finding. Many of you have already read the "cell phone only" story. There's also big news about iPod ownership and use, as well as the incredible proliferation of videogame play.
In the Sunday New York Times Magazine, Tom Peters has an insightful quote about branding and the Internet: "The Web makes the case for branding more directly than any packaged good or consumer product ever could...So how do you know which sites are worth visiting? The answer: branding. The sites you go back to are the sites you trust...The brand is a promise of the value you'll receive."
We've put the wraps on our all-client Technology Web Poll (more than 50 participating stations and 19,000+ completed interviews). The research is rich with incredible findings about how Rockers use streaming audio, iPods, and videogames, along with opinions about satellite radio and other new media.
Is it me - or is Starbucks becoming more and more like a great radio station? Or the kind of station we'd all want to work for?
After I bought some shares of their stock, they sent me a special "shareholders card," loaded up with $3.50. Every time I use it (yes, I loaded it up with cash), I am greeted as someone special at every Starbucks store I visit. They recognize me not just as a customer, but as someone who has invested in their business (or the Super P1 that I am).
They do more than serve coffee (i.e. play music) because I can get cheaper coffee at Dunkin' Donuts or the equivalent at Caribou. Starbucks stores have a vibe, a lifestyle, and an atmosphere. Their people are always friendly, the music is interesting (which is why they are successfully selling tons of it), and they understand that their business is about more than selling mochas. They make their customers feel wanted and comfortable in a world that is frantic, inconsistent, and often unsettling.
Like NPR, Starbucks understands they are not just providing beverages to their customers, but are tapping into the core values of their guests. Aspects of these values include charity, environmental concerns, and technology (music downloading, XM channel, etc.), and deepen their relationships, and bind them emotionally to the brand.
The newest innovation is "The Way I See It" series that's printed on their cups. These are clever, thoughtful quotes from everyone from Keith Olbermann to Al Franken to Goldie Hawn to Ken Burns. And now they are "peopletizing" this series by inviting customers to submit their own sayings and thoughts, some of which will show up on future cups (like "Guest DJ" done right). What a grande concept!
The new twist in the indecency debacle comes from Representative James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) who recently told the cable industry that when it comes to indecency violations, he'd rather seek criminal prosecution as an enforcement measure.
When all of this started shortly after Janet Jackson's wardrobe malfunction, we started a site - www.saveradionow.org. It is an announcement like this from the chairman of one of Congress' most important committees that makes me feel like it wasn't a total waste of time and resources. As someone reminded me before last November's election, we'll end up with the representatives we deserve. But do we deserve THIS?
The Wall Street Journal recently wrote a fascinating story about how Microsoft mogul, Bill Gates, takes two "Think Weeks" a year. Gates goes off by himself to a secluded cabin somewhere in Washington state where he isn't interrupted by other people or distractions. A couple months before each "Think Week," Gates' assistant gathers papers from all over the Microsoft empire for review. Aside from beach walks and breaks for Diet Orange Crush, Gates works hard at reading these papers, and often "green lights" projects and new initiatives while on these retreats. One Microsoft staffer refers to the "Think Week" as "the world's coolest suggestion box."
No shock given our recent memos and blogs, but several stations took the Jack plunge today - from Detroit (Doug), to perhaps TWO stations in St. Louis, Des Moines (The Bus), and even Albany. For stations that are being "attacked" by these new players, it's the time to reassess variety, audience loyalty, and personality interaction with listeners. Having a great email database, meaningful personalities, and ways to make your station more interesting are all part of the recipe moving forward. Our business gets more interesting by the day.