When media visionary, and agent provocateur, Jason Calacanis told us at Summit 11 that "your audience is your farm team," he nailed it. More and more, media outlets are discovering great talent among the masses.
Witness KYYS' current campaign to replace morning star, Larry Moffitt, with someone from outside radio circles. Their "Kansas City Radio God" campaign netted scores of entries, all vying for that $50,000 salary.
And now the search is on for the next "Progressive Radio Star," complete with listener voting and a panel of celebrity judges. Where will the next great Talk host come from? Who knows, but why not use the radio listening population as the sandbox?
Additionally, AOL is running a video contest on Red, its teen portal, encouraging teens to create videos for the pilot to an online series - and they're offering up $10,000 for the best effort. Yahoo has launched the "Yahoo Talent Show," with $50,000 carrot in exchange for the best video entry. MySpace and TBS have teamed up on the "Stand Up Or Sit Down Comedy Challenge," also offering $50K for the best comedic effort. Fans vote for their favorites and the winner is aired on TBS - a nice tie-in of media outlets.
And now The New York Times reports that one of Hollywood's top five talent agencies, United Talent Agency, has created a division to scour Internet consumer content sites. They're searching for the next great producer, director, or writer, and they're turning to YouTube and other sites to find them. As Brent Weinstein, head of UTA Online notes, "The barrier to entry is so low, everybody is now a potential artist."
Of course, it's hit-and-miss. But all it takes is one great find, and perhaps the next great Anthony, Mancow, or Rush could emerge from the hinterlands. Take a look at that stack of resumes and tapes on your desk. I'd rather take my chances with a great CGM campaign.