Keith Olbermann Puts The Biscuit In The Basket Supporting Bill Clinton Fox News Interview (update: video posted)
Talking heads are usually just talking heads...they stopped making sense a long time ago. Last night, though, one took an unusually strong and correct stand. It got my attention. For 10 minutes, a talking head actually made sense.
To many, the last real President for the United States was President Clinton. Listening to MSNBC's "Countdown with Keith Olbermann" Monday night, it was good to be reminded of that.
He devoted the last 10 minutes of his show to a commentary in support of Bill Clinton standing up for the truth during a Fox News interview Sunday night.
All month long, Olbermann (on the newly-refocused MSNBC) has been ranting, blasting and verbally spanking the senior administration of George Bush's White House (here's his video clips on Rummy, Bush, Cheney et al, as posted on YouTube), even insisting for an direct apology to the people from George Bush.
And then we get reminded Bill Clinton is no longer officially the president. Instead, we have "Dubya".
The compare and contrast of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush has never been clearer than this past week; Bush gets called "the devil" by Venezuela's Hugo Chavez at the U.N. while Clinton raise $7.3 billion for the Clinton Global Initiative fighting poverty, global warming and supporting other social causes.
Meanwhile, Bush's speech at the U.N. got hardly a mention...because he said nothing new about his "war on terror" except talk about more terror.
However, it was Clinton's Fox News interview that was the real news of the week, not only for what he said but also for how the media reacted to it.
There has been a tremendous amount of media coverage to the interview; the video links are clickable below. This post is mainly about Monday night's (9/25) Olbermann post-Clinton/FoxNews commentary. To use a favorite expression from his ESPN "SportsCenter" days -- put the "biscuit in the basket".
Bravo, Keith, well said.
The Jointblog is not a political blog so this post is not for political purposes. Rather, my P.O.V. is media trend watching. For reasons unknown to date, the media and the nation as a whole has mainly given George W. Bush a pass despite tremendous troubles, all with very little public or media protest. 9/11, Afganistan, Osama bin Laden, Iraq, Enron/corporate fat cats, Katrina, "Plumegate", "weapons of mass distruction"; anthrax; questionable voting/election tactics and advertising...the list goes on.
Maybe we are still all shocked with post-9/11-tramatic stress disorder.
Mainstream media may finally be clearing out its collective head, based on this past week's events. And President Bill Clinton (still acting presidential) may be the tipping point force for that change.
Clinton's Vice President Al Gore started waking up the public and the media this spring and summer with his "An Inconvenient Truth".
Then last week's Clinton Global Initiative (how many ex-presidents have ever done that?)
Finally, Sunday night, Bill Clinton went on his truthful and worthy tear against his critics (and specifically the right-wing agenda of Fox News) during a "heated discussion". Clinton made a huge move correcting history and putting debate back into politics, media coverage and the news.
Monday night, concluding MSNBC's "Countdown", Olbermann delivered his 10-minute commentary about the Clinton interview and how media covered the story. How the real story wasn't Clinton's verbal "explosion"; it was about Clinton setting the record straight. And doing it on the network filled with his strongest critics.
As Clinton said -- among his many bang-on statements: "Say the truth, come on now, say the truth."
And Olbermann agreed the truth was finally said in the media. By Bill Clinton on Fox News, of all places.
As a media trend watcher, I applaud Olbermann's support. At a time when mainstream news media coverage has radically changed its hosts (Couric, Gibson, Williams et al) and "all the news that fit to print" is getting reset at the New York Times, the medium remains the message. If only Olbermann words (and Clinton's and Couric's and the rest...) can rejoin mainstream media's new thinking. I hope it does, as we certainly need more of it back in the political debate.
It's a time for essential change in both tone and content for media.
Click here for a transcript as posted by crooksandliars.com. Once the official K.O. transcript and video about Bill Clinton and the media scrum are made available from his Bloggermann, I will post them here.
Google video posting of Fox News interview with Bill Clinton here and here.
4pm Update: Olbermann's "Special Comments" Google video posting here or view below by clicking:
For all the bluster of I'm right/they're wrong TV talk programs -- including the fake news programs, which I most love -- what struck me about Olbermann's "special comments" about Bill Clinton last night was its quality and substance. It wasn't angled. It wasn't hyperbole. It wasn't chest-beating. It wasn't even political. It seemed (to me, at least) better than that. And I love a good snark as much as the next person. This country needs a whole new running dialogue; I hope this marks a new media trend.
Note: Look for a special "Countdown" Tuesday night at 8pm eastern focused on this topic.
posted by Chris Kennedy @ Tuesday, September 26, 2006,
Baby boomers don't like it when other people (formerly known as their older authority and power figures e.g. "The Man") have something they don't...so they usually figure out ways to get it, too. Looks like they may be at their old tricks...only this time, they're inspired by what's cool with their own kids: MySpace.
After all, kids are always the arbiter of cool. If kids can have a MySpace, why can't us Baby Boomers have our own site cool to us that's uncool to our kids?
By now, most Baby Boomers are well-aware of the online social network phenomenon...places where people gather, share, gossip, "meet" and become "friends" online. They know of places like MySpace and Friendster mainly because they read magazines like Fortune or Forbes or, on the flip side, they read news reports in USA Today or watch on Oprah getting them concerned over potential threats to their children or grandchildren due to rare incidents that shows adults taking advantage and/or preying on unsuspecting teens.
They certainly don't know MySpace from their own usage because it is too messy, noisy, confusing and too much trouble to navigate...which is exactly why it is so successful among teens and Gen X/Y/New millenniums. That grownup usage barrier means the "kids" get more freedom to express themselves without a concern of a parent or other authority figure ever discovering their "odd" or potentially embarrassing proclivities.
Well, at least the chance is very small for now. Businesses are only now setting up ways to better locate online profiles and personal webpages, aimed to investigate their employees or potential employee candidates and even college admission departments investigating college recruits. Of course, once the deal with Google is fully integrated within MySpace and its spyderbots have fully index-mapped the tens of millions of MySpace accounts, "being discovered" will become easier -- a good thing for emerging artists, a not so good thing for those preferring to stay underground.
All this talk about MySpace these last two years has created a ripple effect of demand for Baby Boomers...a group with a long deep history of saying "Me, too"..."If they can have it, so can I".
Wal-Mart has set up The Hub while Linked In has become an important recruiting network tool for upcoming executives the last several years. Now there is a MySpace-like place for Boomers popping up online, too.
For example, some 300,000 Boomers in recent weeks have logged on to a new website, Eons.com. The site is banking on a digital awakening among recreation-minded boomers and matures, a growing and increasingly active demographic online and everywhere else. Registered users can trade text, images, and audio in total anonymity or with starkly candid, photo-accompanied attribution.
In fact, social networking sites is the #1 reason why the 35-64 year old demographic is quickly becoming the largest user of the Internet, covering everything from dating sites to industry forums to self-expression websites to proudly place their photos of family events.
Even those embarrassing pics of their kids growing up.
Jupiter Research estimates that 62.4 million over-50 adults will be online by 2010. And they just might seek one another out. "The fastest growing group for Internet dating is older people," Gloria Steinem told The New York Times earlier this month.
Hey, if the kids can do it, so can the parents. Teens always think their parents embarrass them, even when teens do enough to embarrass themselves on their own. Now parents have the Internet to promote more "aw, aren't they cute?" moments for rich teen embarrassment.
"What's that...another failing mark in school?" "What, you broke curfew again?" It parental payback, kids. Grounding may not cut it anymore, just wait till parents begin posting the family news on their webpage in their own social network.
Those baby boomers, conniving sometimes, aren't they?
To read more, click here
posted by Chris Kennedy @ Saturday, September 23, 2006,
How many broadcast media users are using the Internet for video and audio streams? According to the latest Nielsen/NetRatings NetView report, almost 62 million users in the U.S. every week. Labels: Radio
That number is growing in line with broadband's growth. And has been helped by iTune's video iPod release from a year ago, as it's made TV and viral video viewing online a regular habit for web users.
While the viral video media trend attracts larger viewing audiences for places like YouTube, sites offering content from media TV and radio broadcasts are gaining audiences, too.
Here's some surprise:
* Online Broadcast User Demos: There are slightly more women than men consuming online broadcast media (51% vs 49%), mirroring the U.S. population. Online media broadcast (radio, TV and video) media users and MySpace users seem to be completely different. Users of online broadcast content tend to be mostly 35-54 years old (58%); only 8% are 12-17, 5% are 18-24 and 15% are 25-34. My Space users tend to be strongly 12-34 (72%)
* Online Broadcasting Sites: Yahoo! TV is the top online broadcast destination, with 4.4 million unique weekly users (3.4%), followed by Clear Channel (3.6 million unique users, spread among the 1200 radio stations that stream their broadcasts) and then the BBC, NBC Universal, AOL Television, Nick, MSN TV and CBS TV. (note: for comparison, comScore Media Metrix reports MySpace receives one billion page views daily but is not reported in the Top 10 for broadcast media by Nielsen/NetRatings, suggesting Fox's recent inclusion of video broadcasts (24, Nip/Tuck, etc.) on MySpace still doesn't have an audience yet.)
* TV Advertising Online: News Corp. (Fox/MySpace; 26% share) and Viacom (MTV Networks; 21% share) are the top TV broadcast advertisers online followed by GE (Universal/NBC) and Time Warner. Interestingly, PBS is 10th, ahead of Disney (ABC; 14th).
* Radio Advertising Online: Among radio broadcasters advertising online, XM currently dominates with 70% of all impressions (probably due to their free sample streaming through AOL; almost 8 million weekly impressions online). #2 is Minnesota Public Radio -- the Land of Lake Woebegon. Sirius distantly trails XM for online advertising.
Tables and info sourced from NetRatings and Center for Media Research
posted by Chris Kennedy @ Friday, September 22, 2006,
Just in time for the new TV season, Nielsen Media Research says the average American home now has more television sets than people. And that figure doesn't even include computer screens. According to NMR, there are 2.73 TV sets in the typical home and 2.55 people, with the more-TVs-than-people per household threshold crossed just within the past two years.
With televisions now on buses and Jetblue...in elevators, airport lobbies and minivans...high above city streets on super-billboards and videotrons and even in some people's master bathrooms, this media trend is not just a symbol of conspicuous consumption. The fact is: TVs are everywhere...and, as broadband, digital cable and wireless/satellite reception spreading, it is virtually inescapable.
Half of American homes have three or more TVs, and only 19 percent have just one, NMR said. Compare this with America in 1975, 57 percent of homes had only a single set and only 11 percent had three or more.
Tday, in the average home, a television set is turned on for more than a third of the day -- eight hours, 14 minutes. That's an hour more than it was a decade ago. Surprisingly, most of that extra TV viewing is coming outside of prime time, where TVs are on only four minutes more than they were 10 years ago.
The average person watches four hours, 35 minutes of television each day.
Usage is up and so are the numbers of channels.
One new Nielsen finding -- that young people aged 12 to 17 (especially teenage girls watching more TV late at night or early in the morning) watched 3 percent more television this year compared to last year, reversing a teenager trend of flat or even declining viewing habits.
As more and more TV programming merges with Internet and video game platforms and TV fans increase their control of viewing choices with DVRs and TiVo, expect even high levels of TV watching in the near future.
Even from the renovated master bath jacuzzi...
related AP article here
posted by Chris Kennedy @ Thursday, September 21, 2006,
"It's not going to be a very good show tonight...so change the channel, change the channel. I know this show is supposed to be funny but tonight it is not. By tomorrow morning, I'll be fired...this show used to be cutting edge for its political wit and social satire, now it's been lobotimized by a candy-assed broadcast network...Change the channel, turn off the TV, do it right now..."
Where have we seen this before? How do network TV execs celebrate after the celebrated launch of their new star show "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" -- a show-within-a-show mocking Network TV? Probably with more self-deprecating masturbation. Hey, at least it was good viewing.
Last night's debut of NBC's "Studio 60" takes network self-mockery to a whole new level: the weekly drama series.
It begins with Judd Hirsch as a executive producer melting down on live national TV right after a standards exec cut a segment before going on-the-air. He interrupts his SNL-like show, complaining how Big Media commerce trumps art and numbs national culture. This leads to his immediate firing and the network suits scrambling to save face and ad dollars.
The entire show is filled with snarky barbs and sharp verbal jabs (normally reserved for late night talk show comics as well as fake news programs and bloggers) -- all aimed straight at the show's own Big Media network TV leadership.
It's NBC skewering NBC using several big NBC stars. All on prime time, which hasn't been very prime for NBC lately. "Crisis containment". Spin doctoring. Controlling the story. Resurrecting ratings. Yep, NBC. So far, a good start to the show and for NBC, which beat former #1 CBS as well as the others on the first night of the new season.
This fictional TV drama openly mocks how Big Media is run -- the suits versus the creatives ($$$ versus laughs) in pursuit of ratings and awards glory. NBC even uses the "Network" self-mockery in its promos of the show.
Is 4th-place NBC making a "Must See TV" comeback?
Does NBC finally realize it's been too numbing-dull-safe for ratings (or selling ads)? Or, is it that standards censors and the FCC have gone too far interfering with culture, preventing us future Nipplegate forms of expression? Maybe mainstream mass media no longer exists so NBC will niche program to media geeks?
Or is NBC just desperate for ratings and aggressively playing the underdog poking fun at itself?
Watching the show, it made me think how little has changed in 30 years since "Howard Beale" screamed "Dammit, I'm mad as hell as I'm not going to take it anymore!" on live (fake) TV in 1976's Oscar-winning movie "Network".
"Studio 60" delivers that romantic illusion of Network TV versus the people's need for better TV.
The battle between the content owners/FCC/moral police/censors and the creative/programmers/artists back then seems to be much the same today, despite decades of new media choices (500 channels, Internet), "innovations" (vChips) and "improvements" (better writing than "Charles in Charge") throughout media and entertainment.
It's astonishing, though, how some things remain the same despite all the change.
Howard Beale's legendary "Network" meltdown -- performed by Peter Finch -- became a national catch phrase because his televised nervous breakdown mirrored post-Vietnam/Nixon American culture's own feelings of anxiety, distrust of authority, corporate dishonesty and media manipulation.
Have you been feeling the same way lately?
Of course, his meltdown scored huge ratings for the struggling fictional TV network...so instead of firing him for his insane honesty, the Network kept him on-air.
NBC surely is hoping for the same high ratings results with "Sunset 60". Even though they "fired" Judd Hirsch instead of milking his honest rantings for ratings.
Maybe that's the lesson Big Media has learned. Instead of keeping the nutcase around for short ratings spikes, fire the "lunatic" right away so two stars from old hit shows can be brought in. The network is saved with a new hit TV series, stretching ratings over more time. Isn't that the pitch?
That's so much better, making it a TV series (lasting several seasons) instead of making a movie update like "Network"...because, after all, no one goes to the movies anymore like they did in 1976.
Considering how SNL's best years generated catch phrases (as did "Network"), why didn't Hirsch's meltdown generate an instantly-memorable line for us to remember? Maybe it will find a following on YouTube...
posted by Chris Kennedy @ Tuesday, September 19, 2006,
Welcome to a new media design for the Jointblog -- the blog site for media trend watching.
After a year and a half of establishing the blog's web presence and posting more than 450 articles, I thought it was time for a fresh look, including suggestions from you. Improved ease for use and reading is the intent of this update, compatible with all major web browsers on both Mac and PC (note: once the new IE for Mac is ready, we'll make sure the Jointblog matches its usage design needs). By the end of the week, del.icio.us content tags will be assigned for all archived articles, with a quick reference tag guide so you can the search from major themes to read deeper about topics which most interest you.
Since the launch of the Jointblog, we have accomplished strong SEO results while providing our custom commentaries on both traditional and new media changes. The New Entertainment Economy continues to evolve rapidly...we will keeping watching as new media trends emerge. As always, we encourage you to contribute your ideas, too, as the Jointblog is open for your commentary.
I welcome your comments and suggestions to continue making improvements. We appreciate your readership and your word-of-mouth recommendations to fellow media trend watchers.
posted by Chris Kennedy @ Sunday, September 17, 2006,
Just in time for the Fall ratings season, the morning radio wars between Howard Stern and Opie & Anthony are spilling all over the media. Newspapers. TV. The Internet. And, of course, the source of it all -- their own radio shows. It's the first true new media/old media battle of rivals...and each show's radio fans fuel the fighting. Labels: Radio
It's The King of All Media vs The O&A Virus.
In this corner...
For 20 years, Howard Stern has been radio's biggest and most successful star. As he destroyed competing morning show rivals in city after city, he built a massive national network syndicating his show across the nation (and even into Canada), slaying all competing radio shows while battling against his FCC antagonists. Many tried to copy his style (or, were clearly inspired by him); most failed, giving Stern victory after victory.
After spending 2005 saying goodbye to traditional free radio, he's deftly kept himself in the news: slamming his former employers at CBS Radio, receiving a huge bonus payment for exceeding new subscriber goals, suing (and settling) over the ownership rights of his broadcast archives, launching Howard TV and the Howard Stern Festival and releasing previously-unseen footage of his 9/11 broadcast.
He's the catalyst giving Sirius faster new subscriber growth than XM over the past year. Stern has been one of most-searched celebrities online during his transition from CBS to Sirius radio. Along the way, he made the cover of Entertainment Weekly (and other magazines) and also made talk show visits on TV, including long-favorite friendly stops for the "Late Show with David Letterman".
So far, it's all good for Stern. Until recently.
There's been a sudden turn in the story. And it seems to be snowballing.
Last week, Hitwise.com -- the online search engine measuring service -- published an article asking the question "Did Satellite Kill the Radio Star?", which reported weaker online traffic to HowardStern.com as well as to his overall search term rankings. Hitwise's measurements were simple math:
>> Larger Stern audience before Sirius; much smaller Stern audience on Sirius today.
>> While still substantial, a lower-than-expected conversion of his old media audience to the new subscription model (some studies show only 12% of Sterns's former audience has made the switch following Stern to Sirius).
>> A long-slowing decline in traffic to HowardStern.com since going to Sirius.
>> A long-slowing decline with Howard Stern as a search phrase.
Adding it all up, Hitwise declared Stern in "obvious decline", creating less impact for Sirius than expected.
Meanwhile, in the other corner...
Nemesis morning radio team Opie & Anthony (and their legion of fan pests and instant messengers) have been saying Howard Stern's in obvious decline for years...but, suddenly, it seems to be a little more real. And it's getting Stern's attention.
After becoming the first major radio personalities to sign on for a satellite radio show (XM Radio) following their two year exile post-CBS Radio scandal, Opie and Anthony quietly rebuilt their rabid core fan base first using new media as their new platform and then by becoming the first show to have both a traditional radio broadcast and simultaneous satellite radio broadcast (as well as an exclusive extended satellite-only show).
In other words, the best of both radio worlds. Something Stern wanted to make happen before leaving for Sirius but couldn't do.
Opie and Anthony took over Stern's old studio and forming a new replacement morning show network. First, they tested a brief attack on Whoopi Goldberg's new radio show. Once that was done, they turned their attacks back on Stern, including during a visit to the Letterman show in late August -- O&A's first appearance ever.
During the show, O&A showed their nerves...but they also struck a comedy nerve, especially with Anthony imitating Stern being "the first of everything". They converted an invite to Letterman (due to the mini-Whoopi attack) into an opportunity to "Howie" bash. That's called trading up.
Meanwhile, Stern reportedly said on his show Letterman's producers sought Stern's greenlight approval of O&A's appearance, implying he could have stopped the booking. Of course, O&A never forgave Stern his gag order when they all were on CBS Radio. This latest Stern proclaimation regarding the Letterman appearance drove O&A nuts...which may be the reason why they decided to rub Stern on the show.
These one-two punch slams from O&A and Hitwise has rankled the reigning radio champ. And gotten the Internet buzzing.
Yesterday, Stern devoted a large stretch of his show claiming to be a "victim of a smear campaign" trying to discredit his new gig at Sirius. Forum readers and radio trend watchers know Stern fans and O&A pests are both rabid supporters for their heroes as well as unified haters of the other show. Seems like the "pests" are making some noise.
Says Stern, "I've got more enemies now than I ever have."
Stern promised to release numbers contrary to the Hitwise report to show traffic on his web site has not diminished since his arrival at Sirius. And explained how fast his show is growing.
Blowing off an interview this morning with "The Rock" promoting a new movie release, O&A instead devoted the 7am hour playing Stern's own audio quotes and slamming him back. When O&A added up Stern's figures, they ridiculed his estimates and just kept pummeling.
Stern has enjoyed an amazing ride while transitioning to new media, even though his actual audience reach has dramatically shrunk.
Opie and Anthony have also jumped onto their own amazing ride, converting their exile (followed by a micro satellite radio show "where the radio rejects went", as they have been quoted) into a multi-media simultaneous broadcast network across the country on traditional radio and satellite radio (and streamed through the internet, too), which continues to expand to more syndicated stations.
As O&A say, their virus is spreading. The King of All Media has noticed and he is responding. Who is the underdog now? Stern has the brand value heritage and history...but he has the smaller platform. Of course, he does have more control of his pay-to-hear, pay-to-view content now. Meanwhile, O&A are the younger, newer show, following in Stern's wake (as well as his exodus). They've never had the audience success Stern has achieved. But they do have a bigger platform at the moment.
Which show can make the biggest noise? Who has the most loyal fans? Stern still has the talent and the power base; how will he use it? O&A just hosted a comedy tour, generating record ticket sales -- an touring event Stern never even tried. Which show will be the most innovative?
Things are getting tense in morning radioland, making the old media/new media nexus really entertaining right now.
This is getting good.
Of course, notice the common thread of it all? CBS and Letterman. hmmm...blame Letterman.
posted by Chris Kennedy @ Friday, September 15, 2006,
If July 4 is Independence Day, let's make 9/11 Freedom Day. Freedom from fear. Freedom from hate. Freedom from terror. To re-declare this society a land for liberty. A nation whose people live freely.
We got attacked...yet this is still the "land of the free and of the brave." Bravery was the best quality shown that day in lower Manhattan, Washington D.C, on Flight 93 and across America. Now Americans need to remember freedom, not just as slogan but as the root of everything representing America.
More than planes and buildings and people were attacked on 9/11; so were America's basic principles on civic liberty. It's self-belief of basic rights. As Rudy Guiliani said tonight during the "free speech" segment on the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric, terrorism did not begin with 9/11; it only finally reached our shores. The essence of terrorism is to create terror and provoke a response. By being terrified and giving them a terrified, fearful response, terrorists win the battle. If America is to win this "war on terror", it must require a return to freedom and to liberty. Since media is one of America's strongest influencers, let's make it a media trend to protect real freedom and to encourage all listeners, viewers and readers to live freely.
Media fear tactics, fear-baiting, fear-mongering "tonight at 11"...it's just got to stop.
If the government has trouble remembering how essential freedom is defining America as both a democratic concept and a perceived "brand" in the minds of people around the world, it's up to the people to make the government remember. And to remind them why the Statue of Liberty stands in the harborwaters of New York City welcoming the world to America.
Now, pardon me, I have to remove my shoes and toss any liquids before I can board this flight...
posted by Chris Kennedy @ Monday, September 11, 2006,
Monday marks the 5th year after the 9/11 terror attacks. Labels: Radio
As a New Yorker, I did what many people did: watched the footage on CNN while listening to Howard Stern's show on the radio and working the phones checking with loved ones. The way Stern, Robin and the cast captured the events on-air was amazing; we all were gradually and shockingly realizing at the same time what exactly was going on right around us. In many ways, the disbelief and horror we all felt somehow was comforted when listening to Howard Stern -- more so than what the talking heads on TV were telling.
Stern helped us feel less alone. That we were all experiencing a shared moment. In essence, the "shock jock" helped us through one of this country's most shocking tragedies.
As a longtime media fan -- and specifically a Stern fan -- Stern delivered his best show ever when his audience needed him most, staying on the air well through the afternoon.
A year later, in 2002, Stern replayed the 9/11 broadcast in its entirety. But that's the last time most of his listeners have heard that show. It deserves to be archived in the Museum of Radio and Television Broadcasting.
Well, turns out the E! television cameras were also rolling for his former cable show throughout that day, too....providing footage of the show which has never been aired.
What started as a day interviewing Pamela Anderson's breasts morphed into an important observational as-it-happening-right-now broadcast - and is now being made available to the public (the video with the audio) in a 90-minute edited version as well as further unseen video from the September 12, 2001 show through Stern's InDemand Howard TV channel.
That's the rememberance show I want to see. That's what will help me re-live the moment. And give 9/11 its proper honor and respect.
A 10-minute YouTube audio clip of the 9/11 show here
The video promo trailer of the Howard Stern show "9-11-01" A Retrospective" here
Fark discussion forum with lively discussion of this post here
Audio clip highlights from Stern's 9/11 show as it happened here
Related article here
posted by Chris Kennedy @ Friday, September 08, 2006,
With a vanguard 26-year run leading youth and pop media culture and just two days after being ousted as Viacom CEO by Chairman Sumner Redstone, Tom Freston reportedly received the best form of thanks rarely received anymore for departing CEOs: a standing ovation by an estimate of more than 1,000 Viacom and MTV Network employees after Freston had cleared out his office and departed through the lobby of the 1515 Broadway New York headquarters.
Since the dot com bust, stories are all-too-common about CEOs forced out by scandal, arrest or given golden parachutes for failure (and sometimes all three). When was the last time we heard about a fired CEO getting applause and receiving cheering thanks from his employees as he walks out the door?
For all the various groups of people a CEO serves (stakeholders, boards of directors, executives, employees, customers, the media, etc.) and for all the millions of exit dollars most earn, don't we all (secretly) hope for that kind of respect and appreciation when it's time to go, forcibly or not?
From the Jointblog's perspective, Freston's spontaneous standing ovation -- created with employees Blackberrying and IMing each other for an instant "move on" style flash mob moment and shown at left with MTVN CEO Judy McGrath -- is 100% deserved and a true testament to his leadership and accomplishments.
A digitally-created media (yet personal) celebraton event giving thanks to one of the leading media executives of the last quarter-century.
Tom, we applaud you, too. You are a modern media pioneer. You have many great adventures ahead (after all, you are #17 on Vanity Fair's New Establishment 2006 power rankings -- and rising): no doubt, positive, successful and humanitarian. One quote from a MTVN staffer (reported by Gawker.com) gets it completely right: "He went out as cool as he went in."
Mediaweek reports what happened just hours ago:
Viacom staffers Thursday afternoon bid a fond farewell to Tom Freston, greeting the departing CEO with a standing ovation as he stepped through the elevator doors and into the lobby of 1515 Broadway for the last time
According to MTV Networks sources, the assembly was practically spontaneous, organized by a handful of employees who began hammering away at their Blackberries and cell phones less than a half hour before Freston was scheduled to leave the building once he'd seen to the business of cleaning out his office.
In a matter of minutes, some 2,500 people had worked their way downstairs, cramming themselves into the lobby and onto the sidewalk in front of the company's Times Square headquarters.
When Freston emerged from the elevator at around 4 p.m., the throng burst into raucous applause, alternately hooting and whistling and chanting "Tom! Tom! Tom!"
Freston, who fostered a laid-back corporate culture at MTVN that functioned as a natural extension of his own iconoclastic personality, was said to be "absolutely stunned" by the impromptu reception.
While his former staffers continued to express their noisy regard for Freston, he left 1515 and the network he co-founded 25 years ago without making a speech.
"No one would have been able to hear him anyway," an MTVN source said. "It was like Game Seven of the World Series down there."
posted by Chris Kennedy @ Thursday, September 07, 2006,
Scarlett Johansson as seen on NBC's The Tonight Show with Jay Leno last night.
Now that's content.
If you saw her at home on NBC's HDTV channel....wow, she's gorgeous. At-home viewing in big screen high definition may have been as good (or better) than Jay's own view...and he's sitting next to her!
Trust me...watching her on your computer (she cemented YouTube's traffic value earlier this year's after a live on-camera groping on the red carpet) or a Video iPod doesn't give her (or you) justice. Billboard-sized for the living room would be perfect.
Future "superstars" may be discovered based on their ability to look unbelievably hot on HDTV as they struggle to stay contained in their cocktail dress during late night interview laughs. Hollywood is already getting concerned how some stars don't translate well visually in HDTV.
No concerns required for Scarlett...she may be the high (or low cut) measure to date.
(Note: I'm looking for a High Def clip from last night's show to include as a link here. Once I have it, I'll post; if you know a link, let me know)
(Update 9/7/06: here are some YouTube links here. Not High Def, but still enjoyable)
posted by Chris Kennedy @ Wednesday, September 06, 2006,
The wandering troubadour, the man of his times who plugged in the acoustic guitar, the "blowin' in the wind" Sage...he keeps a-changin' with the times. Labels: Radio
Those times are a-thrivin' right now.
After spending the past couple of decades mainly in a musical wilderness of mumbling (with the occasional stroke of brilliance), Bob Dylan has reinvented himself one more time.
Since the publication of his book (Chronicles, Vol. I) a couple years back, Dylan keeps making bold statements in this new media world.
He started a popular and critically-applauded new radio show on XM earlier this year.
Last month, he declared most music in this digital age sounds not much better than listening to crap.
Two weeks later, he launches a new album Modern Times (again, critical applause; it's digitally recorded, yet superior, 'natch).
And helped get it promoted by lending his new tune and current/very-hip cowboy-hatted visage for a brand new iTunes spot (which previously has used other icons like U2 and Eminem).
(Important current topic point: No digital photoshopping was used on Dylan to smooth out those well-earned wrinkles.)
Now he's viral video cool.
Further proof that Bob Dylan is a man of Modern Times who rolls like an online stone and blows in the digital wind: His newest music video is already up on YouTube, featuring veritable YouTube bait Scarlett Johansson. Who cares if the style is faux mid-'60s Super 8 home movies; it's 5 minutes of Scarlett Johansson (!!) with a classic Americana soundtrack.
Already at nearly 36,000 views, the new video is further proof that Dylan still knows how to get his message noticed. He's still bringin' it like a Hurricane to the masses. And he's doin' it with Scarlett Johansson. You dig?
posted by Chris Kennedy @ Tuesday, September 05, 2006,
The last week of August is traditionally a slow one...the last chance to stretch out before summer ends, the kids get back to school and everyone gets refocused on work. However, while more American soldiers died in Iraq and Afganistan, the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina passed, a mass grave was found in Iraq and enriched uranium was found at a facility in Iran while its President gave the cold shoulder to the UN, we as a nation just couldn't get enough of Katie's waistline.
As the Chicago Sun-Times wrote, "news is a terrible thing to waist". Maybe, CBS News hopes, Katie's waist is a great thing for ratings, even if she prefers the untouched real her since there is "more to love".
How revolutionary for a news anchor! Such gravitas; Dateline's Stone Phillips would approve.
The photoshopped publicity photo used to continue the hype of Katie Couric's arrival tonight as new steward (or, is that stewardess?) of the CBS Evening News spread like wild-fire across the Internet last week and was talk show fodder on talk radio everywhere. Yes, Katie's arrival puts some sparks and new thinking into network news: first solo female anchor; simultaneous broadcasting on TV, radio and streamed on the net (plus available for podcast); and major interview coups in her first week (Bush, Clinton, Cronkite, Guiliani, Bill Maher, even Rush Limbaugh). Even so, how does this hype merit higher news value than real news?
Amazingly, since the announcement of Couric's departure from NBC's Today show last Spring, Katie Couric has consistently remained hot with online search. 5 months ago, the Jointblog posted an article stating Katie Couric's legs are apparently searchable and newsworthy. Since then, "katie couric", "katie couric legs" and "katie couric's legs" have been among the hottest search phrases bringing readers to the Jointblog because the article places in the Top 5 of all the major search engines (in some cases, #1 or #2). In addition, it places highly for "katie couric biceps" and other body parts. For the month of August, 42% of the Jointblog's keyword phrase analysis of users finding us through search engines involved Katie Couric's legs.
This fascination over all things Katie either makes CBS brilliant as its captures populist demand...or sets it up for performance expectations Katie will never be able to meet. The big question: will CBS show enough of her legs? Will they encourage wardrobe malfunctions when she interviews Justin Timberlake? Will the CBS Eye give us a better view at 6:30pm eastern?
After Debut Update (9/7/06): According to Mediaweek.com, CBS News scored its best ratings in 7 Years with Couric as the new host.
Although one day of overnight data does not a hit or miss make, Katie Couric was amply sampled as the new anchor of The CBS Evening News last night. The CBS Evening News With Katie Couric averaged a whopping 9.1 rating/17 share in the overnight markets, according to Nielsen Media Research data, more than doubling the household rating from the year-ago time period average (4.5/9 in September 2005)
posted by Chris Kennedy @ Tuesday, September 05, 2006,