Beyond Just The Games

 “Unless you are prepared to give up something valuable you will never be able to truly change at all, because you’ll be forever in the control of things you can’t give up.” – Andy Law

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Pandora now has an app for the Microsoft XBOX system.

Not really earth shaking…or is it?

Gaming is huge, which draws people to XBOX, and then XBOX provides them an entrée into movies, the web, and music.

Pandora uses Kinect to allow people to listen, vote, and change songs with just a gesture. So Pandora has now integrated themselves into yet another popular distribution channel. Have you heard the old story about finding a parade getting in front of it?

But both may soon be rendered obsolete as Virtual Reality achieves broad acceptance over the next five years.  Change is a fact of life.

My point here is to show how unimaginative and lame most of our radio apps are. Radio will not continue to succeed by being “good enough,” at a time when the life cycle of an app becomes shorter and shorter.  Let’s do something different that really intrigues the listener/consumer, and be prepared to understand that change is faster and more constant than ever.

Dreaming In SoHo

“No one is less ready for tomorrow than the person who holds the most rigid beliefs about what tomorrow will contain.” — Watts Wacker, Jim Taylor and Howard Means, The Visionary’s Handbook: Ten Paradoxes That Will Shape the Future of Your Business

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Recently I was at the Crosby Conference, put on by Pip Coburn, in the SoHo area of New York, where the conversations were unlike anything I’ve done before.  We discussed whether Facebook has an ethical responsibility to fairness in the news since so many people are now using Facebook for news, or whether we’re in a post-fact world, where you believe what syncs with your beliefs.  And those were the simple ideas.  It was amazing.

The discussions are all future oriented and held at a very high level.  A lot of what we talked about had to do with the uncertainty in today’s world and the future.

But I can’t help myself.  So when one of the students mentioned that she got her news from iHeart Media, I had to know more.  I asked what iHeart meant to her, she explained it was a music and social media platform.  Then, when I asked if she was aware that iHeart had radio stations in New York, she paused, looked confused, and said, “I don’t really listen to radio.”

It was by no means the biggest implication from the conference, but it was a little reminder of the uncertainty in our future.  It also helped me realize how little time we spend on thinking about the bigger implications in our lives.  We’re locked into a radio’s dead versus radio’s fine battle that only keeps us focused on the wrong thing.  I guess it’s simpler than addressing the issues and easier to kick the can down the road, but it’s not a solution.

Then again, maybe that student was another outlier, an anomaly in the future of the medium we all love, and when we wake up everything will be fine.

The Future Comes To Those Who Make It

“The best way to predict the future is to create it.” – Abraham Lincoln

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When you’re walking along the beach, early in the morning, everything past the waves on the beach is invisible. You know there’s an ocean out there, but due to the fog bank, you can’t see it. Just like you know there’s a future out there, but you can’t see it.

This is where so many visions fail. The people involved can’t see past the fog bank, so they avoid anything about the future, missing the people on the small fishing boat and the ocean liner carrying passengers to far away places.  There’s a critical shortage of the Christopher Columbus’, John Glenn’s and Elon Musk’s who saw a future and made it happen.

Some of this is a simple vision block, we tell ourselves we don’t have a vision and so concentrate on the tactics that wind up taking us nowhere.  But some of it is also because we’re so tactically oriented that we don’t take the time to dream.  We think we have to be in a state of constant busyness – and you know what they say about a body in motion staying in motion.

Finally, there are those who think that planning gets in the way of a grander scheme to which we’re only a part of.  There’s an almost Biblical ban on strategy because it could get in God’s way.  I could be wrong, but I subscribe to what a famous dreamer, Galileo once said, ” I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who endowed us with sense, intellect and reason intended for us to forgo their use.

The perfect way to predict the future is to create it.  There’s a wonderfully simplistic, strategic sense to that, Abe.

Unsinkable Radio

If you look in your dictionary you will find: Titans – A race of people vainly striving to overcome the forces of nature. Could anything be more unfortunate than such a name, anything more significant?” – Arthur Rostron, Captain of the rescue ship Carpathia


This photograph is believed to be the last for the HMS Titanic, before it sank.

Everyone bragged on the Titanic in its time. It was too large to fail, it was unsinkable, and it was unthinkable that disaster could strike them. All those rich people would not have scrambled for tickets on the Titanic if they knew it was going to sink.

Sorry, but this still reminds me a little of radio as we vainly strive to overcome our own forces of nature. I am told almost daily that radio is in great shape and always will be. But actually, I can’t stop, because I remember history.

I am not anti-radio, and understand what it has done for me, but I can’t accept that everything will be as it was.

Change is inevitable, a part of life.  The radio industry is changing and won’t be the same tomorrow as it was yesterday.

The days of radio, television and print as the dominant media are ending, and the era of audio, video, digital and social have begun.

Toward the end of the Titanic’s cruise there were several things that were missed or neglected.  Had they acted on any of them the ship’s name “Titanic”  wouldn’t mean anything to us.  I’m wondering if we’re not seeing the signs and ignoring them, and are headed to a similar end?

Don’t fear change, embrace it!  Make change happen, don’t wait for it to happen.