Category Archives: Deep Background

Deep Background for December 2012

Will Christmas-time be the “most wonderful time of the year” for Erie media?

I must say things seem to be looking that way. All indications show strength in advertising sales in all media, old and new. I am really enthusiastic at how the market has taken a huge leap forward with Lilly Broadcasting’s addition of news and first-run syndicated shows in HD, and it shows real commitment to the community with their November-long series of fundraisers for area charities.

You can even be positive that, although a headache for our friend Lou Baxter, the move of Nexstar’s Kim Thomas and Jill Perkins into politics makes more room for new talent and fresh ideas and enthusiasm.

Perhaps right now my greatest optimism is for what is coming out of the Erie Times-News newsroom. It seems that almost everyday were are getting a front page feature on the status of community assets that are critical for our region’s future. I couldn’t wait to read the pieces on the Warner Theater renovation and the Erie City Mission’s construction project, which were well written and comprehensive in their graphics and approach.

Solid, compelling content if promoted properly draws eyes and ears and translates to sales…always has, always will.

To the Grinches who think I sound like a naive cheerleader who shrills for the establishment; humbug. My heart aches every time a local cut-in is missed, or you go 10 hours listening to a station without hearing a jock, or the latest shipment from Butler is a few tons lighter than previously out of 12th Street. However, in a “its as good as it gets” reality, we celebrate when hard work, risk, and excellence are displayed.

Agree or disagree with me in this open forum with civility and cheer. Leave a comment below, send a tweet to @pressandtower, or email.

And be nice…it’s Christmas!

Deep Background for October 2012

“I can see clearly now the rain is gone.” ~ Johnny Nash

That chart topper from exactly 40 years ago sets a hopeful tone for Erie TV viewers who are beginning to see further advances in high definition television from our local stations. As the new season kicked off last month, a few first-run syndicated shows are being aired in HD, including “Live with Kelly and Michael” on WSEE, and “Katie” on WICU.

Add to this development the new construction of a new HD formatted news set for WICU and there is certainly call for much hope that full local-origination of HD programming in Erie is due sooner rather than later.

We celebrate, voice concern, reminisce, and rattle the cages across the Erie media spectrum in this open forum. Get involved by leaving your comments below, or you can send an e-mail, or a tweet. We’d love to hear your perspectives and questions.

Embrace the chaos.

Deep Background for August 2012

Sometimes we like to complain and moan about the current state of media. That the grass is always greener in another market; the “if they can do it why can’t we?” questions said with passion.

With regard to local HD content I would have to agree. Seeing the utter ubiquity of video in high-definition makes the locals look kind of silly every time those big black skyscraper bars appear on the sides of my flat-screen.

What would be helpful is some indication of movement toward local HD news and production. The next obvious step is to hook up an HD server to record and playback all the syndicated content to the downstream HD switcher so that Dr. Phil and The Insider play in full def. Then we could get the commercial server HD, and then finally the news/production equipment could go 1080i. Let’s keep making and celebrating that progress.

However, after a month of travel and media consumption in other markets, I have to state that given our size and available revenue sources, we have some really strong media products produced here in Erie, PA. Take the difference between our Sunday newspaper and that in Utica, NY. Yes, even though our DMA is a bit larger, the amount of content in the Erie paper vs. the Utica issue had to be over double in Erie. I don’t even want to mention the quality of the TV newscasts.

Everyone can always improve, and constructive feedback is a cornerstone to getting better. We provide a forum here for the give and take of ideas, news, and commentary. Participate by leaving a comment, sending an e-mail, or tweeting @pressandtower.

Embrace the chaos!

Deep Background for July 2012

Classic Erie Radio Logos

Classic Erie Radio Logos

Something amazing is happening on the “We Rocked Erie in the 20th Century!” Facebook group.

Dozens of air personalities, copywriters, program directors, sales folks and managers are reconnecting, remembering events “back in the day,” and celebrating the first 70 or so years of Erie radio. On a whim, in April 2010 I started the group and in the two plus years since, it has grown to 230 members, experiencing so much joy in their remembrances, while commiserating at what’s been lost in the industry today.

So many group members were radio fan boys and girls before breaking in the business, so it’s a real thrill to be hanging out through social media with the greats of our youth. You get a real sense of community with the gathering of these veterans of the airwaves, many who were fierce competitors at one time.

We hang out on the pixel picket fence in this open forum, discussing Erie and national media developments. To participate, leave a comment below, send me an e-mail, or tweet @pressandtower.

Embrace the chaos!

Deep Background for June 2012

Social media conversation has dominated my world in the past month.

Whether it was the Facebook IPO, or drumming up support from friends for an online voting contest for my son, or understanding what old-school media needs to do to enhance monetization in the digital world, that’s where my head’s been swimming. What’s also not a news flash, is that all media, can save lives.

That’s what’s apparent with the news today (6/7) that Erie native Dan Stasiewski has been found in Cleveland after going missing since Monday. That’s when his coworkers and friends began an extensive search, using traditional and social media, including a blog that was bullet pointing all pertinent details.

We talk traditional, we talk social, we talk all things media in this open forum. Leave a comment, send an e-mail, or post a tweet.

Embrace the chaos!

Deep Background for May 2012

The new month has the editorial staff at the Erie Times-News shaking their heads at the huge typo on Page 1 today above the fold. The headline “Unemployoment dips” was not only a glaring error to blurry-eyed subscribers over their morning joe, but was broadcast to the media world by critic and blogger Jim Romenesko, who quipped, “Why the Erie paper needs a copy editor.”

We discuss such incredulous moments in Erie media on this open forum, along with the success and news. To get in on the discussion, leave a comment below, or send me an e-mail, or tweet @pressandtower.

Embrace the chaos!

Deep Background for April 2012

It’s an odd paradox…people who are in the advertising business seldom advertise.

But that’s the current reality for many of our old and new media products (When’s the last time you saw an ad for Facebook?).

Take radio for example. When local owners and smaller groups ran the stations, you saw the significant presence of station call letters and music video 30’s on local TV, billboard campaigns and sometimes the newspaper. Big promotions and contests like “live in it to win it” and the birthday game were frequent and became water-cooler conversations in the community.

These marketing efforts expanded cumulative listening and made the radio stations more valuable. Then the big groups moved in and what’s the first thing that went toward paying the mortgage? Marketing. What’s the end result now after several years? Fewer listeners; less advertiser value and ultimately less revenue, leading to less shareholder value.

It’s not just radio…every other medium has cut or eliminated real money spent on marketing. And running promos on your own air or newsprint doesn’t count. How do you tell that car dealer or restaurant to go after that new demographic niche when you aren’t willing to do the same?

It’s painful to see local time spent listening or viewing or circulation keep decreasing. Where are the brilliant marketers who can creatively stop the tide of fleeing consumers of local media, and who will be the brave managers that will resource them?

I’d like to hear from you. Let’s talk about growing local media or anything else in the world of pixels, frequencies, or copy. Leave a comment in the box here, or you can e-mail me at joel@nataliemedia.com, or by tweeting @pressandtower.

Embrace the chaos.