aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Saturday, March 08, 2008
Old Guard Broadcasters JUST DON’T GET IT!!!
I am very, very worried about what we’re about to see happen to NPR in the wake of the Ken Stern firing. I’ve been out of the biz for a while and always on the (cable) periphery anyway, but my 2Â¢ is that they’re really invested in their model and will find it hard (impossible!) to break out of it.
Jeff Jarvis is my jumping off point:
It appears that the stations did him in as they gun for his digital strategy because they fear the internet will hurt them.
Well guess, what, local yokels, hate to tell you this butâ€¦ You’re screwed! You bet the internet is going to hurt you. There is no need for you as a distribution arm anymore. Unless you add valuable local content and service to the mix, you might as well tear down the tower now. Or in a year or two. Getting rid of Stern et al won’t get rid of reality.
This is the problem I see in all media: They think that protection is a strategy. It’s not.
Local public TV and public radio stations today pay hundreds of thousands and sometimes millions to NPR, PBS, APTS, PRI, APM and other content providers (with NPR and PBS being the most obvious). This has stifled the local public media companies’ ability to produce local content. They blow all their cash paying the networks.
Reverse syndication in this world, to my thinking, is to have the networks sell their content to the public (ads, membership revenue) and give all the content to the local media outlets for free â€” with the caveat that embedded ads pass through with the content. Local outlets could then produce local media and still pick from the best national media and arrange it into locally-relevant streams/blocks on the web, on transmitters, etc.
And I especially like these observations from Robert Patterson:
In a forest, when a big tree falls, light pours in and there is a huge growth burst. Such an event is taking place at NPR. The press say that this event is because the board is anti media. We all know that the opposite is true
In the light of the press’ view of what is happening, I feel compelled today to offer up a few attached insider’s views of what a new CEO could find in this clearing.
First of all some issues that are now visible in the environment:
- NPR cannot go it alone - Go for the "System" - Networks trump everything that is not a network. We were maybe not sure about that after New Realities but many had that insight. There is now abundant evidence that this is true - look at Senator Obama’s fund raising - so a public media system that is a real network including NPR and producers and the stations that pulls in the full creativity and energy of the public will trump any other system. The best way forward is together. Not because it is "Nice" but because it is the best! The resources that are latent in a system are vast. In a system that includes the public - are stupendous
- The money will dry up really fast - Our economic model is now as bad as for newspapers or the music industry - The shift to the web is faster and more complete than many thought in 2006 - By 2010 the web will be the centre of how life is lived and the economics for those that rely on other ways of connecting will fall off the cliff. Inaction is a decision to die. Action means a huge push to 2.0. No one is able to do this right now.
- We are all stuck. We know where to go but can’t even take a first step to get there - the participative person centered system - the destination is no longer in doubt - BUT we don’t know how to get there. Most are completely stuck - the Friction of the current world is overwhelming. At the moment death is very likely.
So we know where the "City on the Hill" is. We know that we have to get there. But we are stuck.
I close back at Jeff’s post with a comment from Dennis Haarsager, interim CEO:
Seldom do you get it from the horse’s mouth, and this will be short, but go to my blog sometime tomorrow and I’ll publish a longer version. Until mid-day yesterday, I was chair of the NPR board, and since yesterday afternoon, I’m the new interim CEO. The scenario you outlined in your opening paragraph is dead wrong and so was the first part of the Washington Post story today. It’s what happens when speculators become sources. If station management wanted to kill off or slow down emerging media, their board picked the wrong boy. Read my blog archives for the past four years. More to come Saturday at http://www.technology360.com/. Regards, Dennis Haarsager
I’ve been watching Haarsager’s blog and have yet to see his promised post. This has got to be one of the most fascinating media stories of our era.
Yes Pecan or Barackadamia Nut?
Meanwhile, after the Vermont primary, Slate’s Trail Head asked readers to help name a Ben & Jerry’s Obama ice cream flavor.
“Yes Pecan” quickly became the odds on favorite:
Ben & Jerry’s is famous for such flavors as Cherry Garcia (named for the Deadhead), Phish Food (named for the Dead successors), and Americone Dream (named for the not-dead Stephen Colbert), and if Ben & Jerry’s delivered a victory for Obama, then it should also honor him with a taste of his own.
Plenty of you responded with riffs on Obama’s name. Peanut Butter Barackle, Obamana Split, and Barackadamia Nut all raised a chuckle. But it was Aaron Nathan of Amherst, Mass., who really impressed. Eschewing Obama’s name, he reached another level of ingenuity when he sent in his entry: “Yes, Pecan!”
[… scandalous brouhaha omitted ...]
Trailhead reader Gerrit H. mocked up the brilliant pint of ice cream you see above. Tremendous job all around, especially on the blue, red, and white scheme.
Also, several readers have e-mailed telling us that our East Coast bias is on display by thinking “Yes, Pecan!” rhymes with “Yes, We Can!” Down South, pecans are not pronounced pe-CAN, but puh-CAHN, according to Trailhead devotees (Trailheaders? Trailheadians? Trailheads?). Considering Obama adamantly believes in one America, we think he might be distressed by this development. As a result, we’re looking for an alternate flavor for Ben & Jerry’s stores below the Mason-Dixon. The front-runners are currently “Barackadamia Nut” and “Neopolitician.” Got anything better? Let us know.
Via Slate’s Political Gabfest. (BTW, I’m with you, Plotz, on the big Moo!)
Via Blogs for Democracy, “What would Freud say?”
Race Card crackles with insight
I just ordered THE RACE CARD: How Bluffing About Bias Makes Race Relations Worse from Amazon. I’ll be reading it on a Spring Break trip to New Orleans in a couple weeks.
It’s reviewed in tomorrow’s WaPo:
When Ford delves into the intricacies of post-racist America, the book crackles with insight and pierces the pieties of left and right. His discussion of employment discrimination doctrine is a masterful primer for the general reader, coupling a cogent critique of “color-blindness” with a provocative argument—explored at length in his 2004 book Racial Culture: A Critique-- that workplace bias against seemingly race-specific behavior is not necessarily racism. A neutral corporate grooming code, for example, may keep African American women from wearing cornrows, but to Ford, a hairstyle has to be regarded as “freely chosen behavior.” To say it’s a racial trait would make any “failure to tolerate nonmainstream norms and practices . . . racism-like bias” and would destroy the political consensus behind anti-discrimination laws.
Similarly, he defends affirmative action with an old-fashioned commitment to integration and the assimilative function of a university education, rather than the “questionable and convoluted justification” of diversity.
The legacy of Jim Crow is more pervasive than Ford allows. He suggests, for example, that the incompetent response to Hurricane Katrina can be attributed to President Bush’s narrow political self-interest, not to his racism. But Ford doesn’t address the modern Republican Party’s calculated strategy to become the party of segregationists and white Southerners. Similarly, if discrimination against Spanish speakers seems distinct from race in the abstract, language was an unsubtle proxy for race in segregated schools, workplaces and jury pools in the American Southwest for much of the 20th century. But this history only heightens the urgency of today’s problems, to which Ford, in his pragmatic and passionate effort to redefine civil rights, brings a jolt of clarity.