Here's a quote from Magic Johnson: "Michael Jackson made me a better point guard."
What? It is truly incredible how death can instantly change one's image. Have you ever seen so many people come out of the woodwork, "deeply affected" by Jackson's passing?
This recent "research" from the website, GraphJam, says a lot about posthumous mood swings and changing attitudes:
Let's put the Michael Jackson story in perspective. Yes, for the cable news networks, this thing could generate O.J. Simpson-like ratings. And with medical and autopsy results, child custody fights, and other family squabbles yet to come, this story will be the gift that keeps on giving. The PPM data in a couple of weeks will no doubt be telling.
But at what point can media outlets not benefit from the Jackson hype? What is the trade-off for tapping into the most mass appeal story of the year versus going against the grain of the audience's DNA? Case in point: WNRQ in Nashville, a Classic Rock station that has been quite successful over the years. Here's an email they sent out to their database (mostly P1s, of course) on Tuesday morning.
And Michael Jackson video coverage of the service was featured on their website the next day (along with many other Clear Channel station sites we checked).
Maybe this is one of those Clear Channel "cram downs," rather than a local decision. And while no disrespect to the PD at WNRQ, how does the audience react to something like this? It's a good question, and one that should spur varied opinions on both sides of the Michal Jackson line.
While some would argue that this is one of those bigger-than-life events that demands coverage and attention, others (me) would respond that you can't have it all. There is the Law of Sacrifice, and while Rock morning shows need to deal with the Jackson death/service/hype/insanity in their own stylized way, does this type of adulation coverage exceed the "rock speed limit?"
Your comments, as always, are welcome.
In another note this week, the radio industry was saddened by the loss of one of its own superstars, Emmis/Indianapolis' Tom Severino, who was highly regarded both in life and in death. Tom was one of the good guys - a down-to-earth broadcaster who truly loved this business, and was in the process of leading his cluster through the digital morass. Tom was also an alumnus of WRIF in Detroit, a station that has "graduated" many fine radio professionals over the years. Our sympathies and condolences to Tom's family, and our friends at Emmis. We just lost one of the best.