That’s the problem with writing a blog once or twice a week. Every now and then, the writer looks down on the written page and he realizes that everything he has written, every lousy word, is B.S.
Just words on a page for the sake of meeting a deadline.
It happened to me this week and it made me ill. At first, I thought I had become one of “those” writers, who self-gratifies himself with the worst kind of B.S.: Reading his own words and agreeing with them. Maybe that is true to a certain extent, but that wasn’t why my stomach felt like I had just ingested the El Grande Breakfast Burrito at Taco Bell.
It suddenly dawned on me that I am sick and tired of the B.S. that I read, hear, view and otherwise absorb. Lately, B.S. seemingly is everywhere and painfully obvious in the broadcasting trade. Omnipresent heaps of propaganda abound, from mid-level managers who pat themselves on the backs for selling half of an arena’s worth of tickets to a holiday roadshow concert, to senior board members who never fail to explain why next quarter’s earnings will be better. HR and corporate communications departments generate the most lethal B.S., as they frame firings of tenured staffers as “right-sizing.” What the hell does that even mean? No one with half a brain believes that companies operated in the dark for years, without any idea of how many people are required to produce a great product. That’s B.S.! Yes, technology has provided the means to lower head count, but the ownership of toys does not require that we play with them. Smart and experienced managers knew then, and they know now, what it takes to provide compelling on-air products, but they are willing to sacrifice the best interests of the communities they are licensed to serve for their own financial gain, even at the expense of senior (read, “more costly”) employees who have dedicated entire careers to the business and deserve better; Men and women who have been around and who don’t need to B.S. They know. Or, if they don’t know, they call someone who does. But the guys who don’t know still fire the ones who do to save a little cash. That, my friends, is B.S., and it damages the industry.
Many of you may say, “What about the new kids coming up? They need somewhere to hone their skills!”
They do. As always, young people who enter the business should be celebrated and mentored. Except there are few left to do the mentoring. For every young superstar who tweets, Instagrams and Facebooks, there are three expert radio entertainers or skilled programmers who have been put out to pasture. That’s B.S. Even as you read this, sales professionals and engineers are suffering the same fate because youth and projectable expense horizons seemingly overcome experience, skill and the mission to provide the consumer with a competitive product.
Please, don’t tell me traditional radio and television are finding new ways to compete by using digital platform delivery. That, too, is B.S. As long as we play fifteen or more units an hour…two at a time, three at a time, or four or five…we can’t compete with more cleverly monetized delivery systems. Look at the research. It doesn’t lie about connected dashboards, music discovery, personal playlist control, or any of the avenues that we could have chosen to travel.
What is not B.S. is the need for all of us to work together to co-opt available new consumer benefits and create some that are unique to our platforms. Don’t just declare that, “We’re a content company,” because that, too, is B.S. You’re only a content company if your content is relevant to the consumer.
MBMI works in several industries besides broadcasting. Each has its challenges, but, for some reason that is obviously beyond my pay grade, the broadcasting business seems to have the greatest number of B.S.’ers per capita of any of them. While other industries look to update and grow in the direction of end user needs, broadcasting obstinately insists on being self-centered. As industries, Radio and Television accepts leaders who pretend to have the answers when they don’t. Unashamedly. People who claim that experiencing the same year twenty times qualifies them to say they have twenty years of experience. The two things are vastly different. Imagine if Apple chose to live off its laurels for designing a stylish music player, because, gee, cellular telephone design was covered by someone else. Unthinkable. Properly applied, every year is a new learning experience that pushes us further and further away from the need to B.S.
Sometimes achieving a new perspective requires seeking a new perspective, absent of the B.S.
MBMI associates have learned to listen, observe, discover and think before we comment. We don’t believe in cookie cutter solutions because every situation deserves critical analysis and a B.S-free, fresh approach to success.
Please, do me a favor. If MBMI works for you and one of our team spouts buzzwords instead of really communicating with you, or if you read something that we have written just to fill space, call us on it. Hold our associates accountable. Challenge us to think harder about your business and work smarter because that is how individuals and businesses grow together and incrementally increase a company’s value.
It’s time to stop suffering fools gladly or looking the other way when people who don’t have the answers, especially those at or near the top of the food chain, claim to have answers they don’t. To save the broadcasting industry, it’s up to everyone to start calling bullsh when they smell it.