Tag Archives: analog

Media Convergence, As Cold As Ice

When I was working on my undergraduate degree back in the early 70s, I did a research paper on media convergence. At that time, we thought that convergence would occur around cable television. But not today.

Even in the 90s, the concept of media convergence seemed like the world of Jules Verne. People consumed each source of information, on its own separate platform. Print came in the form of a magazine or newspaper. Radio, via a reception device designed to pick up only AM or FM radio signals and television, through a big picture tube encased in a giant wooden cabinet. It was beyond most of our imaginations that print, radio and television would ever be delivered to us on a single device that we could carry in our pocket; like today’s smartphone.

Even more amazing is the fact that our smartphones can also publish our written thoughts, broadcast our spoken word and even transmit our pictures/videos to today’s global village.

Maybe even more shocking to us as Boomers, is the fact that the Millennial generation doesn’t even have memories of the fragmented media world we grew up with.

How Innovation Changes Our World

In order to try and help media people understand how innovation can change the world as we knew it, let’s take a look at how bringing “cold” to the south set-off a change reaction of change.

Two hundred years ago, if you lived in the south, there was no way to escape the heat. Frederick Tudor, Boston’s “Ice King” would spend a decade figuring out how to transport ice from New England to the south and even around the world. New England’s natural ice would become so treasured, that in the early 1900s, it would become America’s second largest export after cotton.

Then a physician, Dr. John Gorrie, wanted to try to cool the hospital rooms of his Florida hospital, in order to make his patients who were burning up from fever more comfortable in the sweltering heat of the south. Gorrie invented a refrigeration machine, and when he applied for a patent on his invention, he wrote: “Artificial cold might better serve mankind. Fruits, vegetables and meat, would be preserved in transit by my refrigeration system and thereby enjoyed by all.”

When ice fishing, Clarence Birdseye learned how the Inuit Indians of the north flash froze the fish they caught, by leaving them out in the frigid air. This caused their catch to be instantly frozen and allowed the Inuit to keep their catch fresh to eat at a later time. This inspired Birdseye to improve artificial refrigeration to enable the flash freezing of all kinds of produce,  creating the frozen food industry.

Fred Jones, created refrigeration units that could be placed on tractor trailer trucks, shipping containers and railroad cars, allowing for long-haul transportation of perishable goods.

Innovation Eats Its Own

In the 1800s, having an idea to bring cold to a part of the world that was always hot, was considered an insane idea. Everyone thought Frederick Tudor was an oddball. His efforts to perfect the transportation and storage of natural ice at one point put him in debtors’ prison, but his persistence would eventually make him a very wealthy man, until the birth of mechanical refrigeration. Gorrie, Birdseye and Jones would bring an end to the natural ice industry, with their innovations in cold.

Big ideas don’t come from a “Eureka moment.” They come from one person asking themselves, “I wonder if…” From having a hunch that just won’t go away. Big ideas are created from many other people having small, incremental ideas, that then get networked together, and over time become the next big thing.

The Internet

Fifty-one years ago, at 10:30pm, the internet was born with the transfer of one simple message. Charley Kline, a student programmer at UCLA, would type the letters “L” and “O” and electronically send them more than 350 miles to the Stanford Research Institute’s computer in Menlo Park, California. The computer system immediately crashed after they were sent, but a communications revolution had begun.

Now if you think of analog communications as “natural ice” and digital communications as “artificial ice,” you can see it really isn’t unusual for new innovations to extinguish original big ideas.

While today, we’d never consider putting an old fashioned ice box in our modern kitchens, the business of selling ice still exists. I for one, still frequent my local convenience store’s ice box, to pick up a couple of bags of ice cubes for my picnic cooler.

Likewise, I think a need for a few local radio stations may remain, but only if they provide a unique and unduplicated service to their listeners.

But I also believe that the analog communication model will slowly fade into the background as new communication innovations come along and replace it.

AM/FM radio’s days, as we Boomers knew it, are numbered.

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Analog vs Digital

113Roy H. Williams writes a weekly article called the Monday Morning Memo. I’ve been reading it since the days when Roy used to fax it. Today it arrives every Monday morning via email.

Does it arrive via analog or digital?  Probably digital.

The fax days were when it arrived analog I’d guess.

The Other Kind of Advertising

Recently, Roy’s MMM was about “The Other Kind of Advertising.” What got my attention was that Roy made the comparison of analog world versus a digital world as the difference between Newtonian physics and Quantum Mechanics.

I was a physics major as an undergraduate in college.

In teaching at the university, I have often used elements from my physics education to give a better foundation to my students about universal principles that form the foundation for effective communication.

The Power of the Human Voice

When I speak to you, am I talking in analog or digital? You don’t care, do you? You never really even gave it a thought until I brought it up. What does get your interest is what I’m speaking to you about.

Radio gives the human voice amplification.

Word of Mouth is the Best Form of Advertising

Anyone who’s been in advertising sales has certainly been told over and over and over, that the best form of advertising is “word of mouth.”

My response to that has always been, “I agree with you!”

That’s why you should be on the radio because we are word of mouth, only we have the biggest mouth in town.

There are No Wrong People

Roy has preached for years, there are no wrong people to be reached by advertising, only wrong messages. Great advertising not only engages the mind, builds curiosity but causes people to share with other people what they’ve heard. That’s the magic of persuasive storytelling aka radio advertising.

But the Data Says

Google Analytics got everyone thinking that targeting was the most important thing in advertising. The new digital world of advertising was all about “reaching the right people.” But is that really effective?

The data for my radio stations back in northern New Jersey said that we reached the most people who were employed. So why would anyone run “Help Wanted” ads on my radio stations? Wouldn’t they, by definition, be the “wrong people?”

Turns out, that would be wrong.

People who are employed are the very ones that know people who aren’t. And then there are people looking for a better job or a job that’s closer to where they live.

Often people who ARE employed are not happy in their current job and radio help wanted ads may entice them to make a change.

Belief Systems

If you have a deterministic belief system then you are like a Newtonian physicist. If you have a probabilistic belief system then you are like a physicist who works in the world of Quantum Mechanics.

In advertising, the first group would be marketers who use predictive data and the second group would be marketers who base their decisions on outcomes.

And just like with Newtonian physics and Quantum Mechanics, both are true.

Newtonian physics was used to put Americans on the moon and return them safely to earth. But it won’t explain how your computer or smartphone work. For that you need to use Quantum Mechanics.

String Theory

One of the goals of physics is to find a single theory that unites all of the four forces of nature. These are; electromagnetism, gravity, and the strong and weak nuclear forces. In other words what ties both Newtonian physics and Quantum Mechanics together. String theory maybe that unified path.

I believe that when it comes to effective advertising, we have already found our unified theory that ties analog and digital communication together.

The message is that string, that single element that makes both analog and digital equally effective.

The person who creates that message is critical.

Who is that person(s) in your organization? Do you even have someone dedicated to this creative, innovative, demanding, hypercritical position?

Sadly, many – dare I say most – radio stations don’t today.

Lightning In A Bottle

If creating persuasive radio commercials is part of your job description, let me give you a little help. Let me turn you onto some “Lightning In A Bottle.”

Blaine Parker is a Mercury Award Winning radio creative genius. He’s just published his latest book that reveals the 3 easy rules for writing more profitable radio commercials.

WARNING: This book is short & expensive!

Full disclosure, Blaine asked me to write the forward to his book, so I can truthfully reveal to you I’ve read it and believe in everything Blaine has written to be seductively effective.

I have no financial interest in the sale of this book. My financial interest is in you, your radio station and your advertisers to effectively tell their story and get results.

You can buy “Lightning In A Bottle” on Amazon by clicking HERE.

Analog or Digital, Who Cares?

I wrote today’s post on a digital computer. You received it via email or are a subscriber to my weekly blog articles (subscriptions are FREE) via the internet.

But whether I shared all of this in a face-to-face conversation or via AM/FM radio or via HDRadio or via an internet stream, the message conveyed would be the unifying element that either caused you to read all the way to the end or bail out early.

And powerfully, persuasive messages do not cause you to remember every word, but they will forever change how you feel about a product, service, business or person.

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