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November 2008
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January 2009

Media Axe Falls - J. Michael McCoy

Media is something I know a little about.  The good and the bad.  (My first termination was from a radio station 40 years ago on Christmas Eve...maybe that's why the holiday scares me today?)  I know that when the media starts to release people, who are good at what they know programming is NOT involved.  It's the pin-heads in accounting.Mac   But...this is different, I think.

Twice this week we've seen the axe fall here in Des Moines.  The most recent was J. Michael McCoy from 98.3 WOW-FM (983wowfm).  He's been in the business for over 20 years and most recently held the afternoon gig "Mac's World" where he was posting pretty good numbers.  He also is VERY conservative, with a BIG "R" next to his name.  (Here is the story from WHO-TV-13 Des Moines)  Notice he says money was not an issue...he was willing to take a major pay cut to stay on.  Anyway, I'll miss Mac...he's a good guy and I really mean that!

The weird thing is that Terry Peters, GM of Citadel Group (the big guns who actually own the stations) here in Des Moines is replacing Mac with Chris Bradshaw...who by the way, is very bright and very funny.  And...very left.

Again, maybe I was ahead of my time?  I went directly to Terry Peters two years ago to suggest to him that perhaps a more center or left-wing talk radio program might be a good choice for 98.3 WOW-FM.  Why?  Because across town at WHO - 1040AM it's all GOP all the time.  (Well, other than the "God Show" from 4 to 7pm with Steve Deace each weekday.)  I suggested to Terry that a more liberal show would catch on looking at just the voting numbers in the area.  He told me, "Michael it's interesting but a liberal show will not work in this market or any market.  Look at what happened to Air-America." they have one?  Memo to Bradshaw:   Don't re-arrange the furniture just yet.

I'm tellin' ya...I am a prophet...

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications - Where of today anyway,  have a show airing on 98.3 WOW-FM each Sunday morning.


Trouble In The Heartland...

At our advertising agency many of our clients are tied to agriculture so we tend to keep an eye in that direction for them and for our rural lifestyle radio show, Highway 6.  And, my friends...there is trouble brewing in the Heartland.Farmer Field

Four months ago a barrel of crude was being traded at $170.  Last night it fell to under $41.  While that may seem like good news for those of us driving gas vehicles it spells trouble for the emerging ethanol industry that has been a major factor of improving the rural economy.  Corn based ethanol is dead in the water unless the government approves an increase in the blending.  Here is a story from Brownfield

Corn prices are now under $3.25 a bushel.  (Four months ago it was trading at $7+.) However the price for fertilizer is still strong, diesel fuel is much higher than gas (think tractors and transportation) and cash rent for land was based on $7.00 corn...not what farmers are getting today.

The problem...even for city a major instability for the rural economy.  That means manufacturing jobs, transportation jobs and yes, even a shortage in commodities.  And that will impact everybody even if you don't have a clue what a PTO is.

So answers?  Here are a couple:

  • Increase the amount of ethanol to 20%
  • Diesel Fuel costs are out of line...why and fix it

Fight the desire to buy food grown outside of the United States

As always...somebody is getting the shaft and one need simply follow the money.

For our clients, we continue to believe they are well positioned to go either way.  But if I were advising farm equipment manufacturers I would suggest they start bragging about value and how they can improve yield.  Otherwise...big trouble ahead for them. 

Business "as usual" will not make  What a difference just four months makes.

Michael Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications - Yep...we love agriculture.

You Get What You Pay For?

Not long ago I helped a couple of business people set up their blogs.  One I did for freeMan WHAT and the other we charged our rate because we also did the website and wanted them to link.  Clearly, it wasn't a large expense for either client.  And, at the time, I was willing to do whatever it took to get them on the right track and help them get noticed.  We explained, very carefully, how this form of marketing provides a conversation tool that can be amazingly powerful.

In each case I gave them the Michael Libbie Three Rules for Successful Blogging:

  • Keep your posts short and to the point.
  • Have "something to say" that informs and causes action.
  • Blog at least three times a week, every week.

Looks like I have failed.

In each case they have quit...all in less than three months.  Which brings to mind the old saying, "You can lead a horse to water, but can't make 'em drink."

Maybe I should have doubled my rate?  Maybe I should have explained better?  Maybe I should have left them a copy of my Power Point about "Getting Noticed"?  Maybe I should just charge them, big time, and write the things myself?

If you've got the guts to get into the game...stay there and work hard.

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications





The "Pink Slip"...

Today the Des Moines Register released 60 employees as part of the massive cost Pink Slip saving measure for the hemorrhaging media giant and owner Gannett.  (85 daily newspapers, USA Today, 1,000 non-daily & 23 TV stations)  The word is they have to cut 10% of their workforce.  Maybe they should also lose one of the double letters out of their would hurt less than showing the street to middle-age reporters with kids in school and little opportunity to find another gig.

Among those cut from the Des Moines payroll was 25 year veteran Brian Duffy.  He is the guy who does some fantastic political and cultural front page cartoons.  He says in a small image what takes many 500 words.  It's sad.  I don't know Brian well but it's going to be tough to get that kind of job...anywhere today.

And others are hurting too.  What about the folks that have to GIVE out the "pink slip"?  Or those who are left...wondering when they get the call from H.R.:  "Hi, Mike...say, can we see you in the office at ten?  We have a list for you."

Everybody knows it's coming...but folks pray it's not them.

I just re-read a classic Leon Uris book, Mila 18.  The Jews of Warsaw also prayed it would not be them...but in always was.

No other point to this blog other than to write that we hope things get better...quickly.

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications.





Man suitcase Back in the United States and anxious to get BACK to work.  I've been in Israel for the past eight days.  And, as always, there were more stories then there is time for you to read them.  However, allow me one brief review of what is really troubling the airline industry and perhaps your business as well.

As we all know, traveling by air is a hassle.  My standard rule of thumb is that if the trip is shorter than 700 miles.  I'll drive, thank you.  Why is that?  And, the better question might be:  Why would YOUR customer rather switch than stay with you?  We think the answer is pretty simple:

Nothing is "special" and the employees don't have a clue.

Airline employees, as a whole, are very professional folks and they never miss an opportunity to let you know.  Are your employees the same?  You know, do they know plenty about the product or service but fail at the ability to engage the customer?

It makes for a very impersonal adventure.  It's not to say we require employees to 'gush" each time a customer asks a question but it would be nice to have them be warm and interested.

So, perhaps the lesson we should learn from this is to remain focused on not only our professional relationship but also our personal lives.  Care a little more perhaps and engage.

Beats flying!

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications