Friday, March 13, 2009

Hither and Yon...


No, Hither and Yon are not a Borscht Belt comedy team. It just means I have not had a chance to post here in a few days -- dang day job! -- and wanted to make a few random observations.

First, I was reading an ad trade pub called BRANDWEEK, and they have an article about how the suddenly very popular sites Facebook and YouTube may be attracting millions of eyeballs, but they are not making the kind of money they should be with that accumulation of potential customers. They simply have not yet figured out how to capitalize on what they have.

Reminds me of when Google first appeared. With that beautifully clean home page -- the goofy logo and a search box -- I could not, for the life of me, figure out how they were going to make money. No banner ads. No cost to search. Are these guys nuts? Never occurred to me that advertisers would pay for positioning on those results pages. Or for clicks on those links. All that little model has done is turn advertising on its ear! See what kind of seer I am?

Related thought: radio and TV are having their own problems capitalizing their new technology. I've spewed at length here about so-called "HD Radio." One side benefit (?) of that technology is the capability of programming another couple of on-air channels. HDTV has the same thing. It makes any radio or TV station equal two or three radio or TV stations.

But none of them--radio or TV--have figured out what to do with all that potential. If you are radio and you program a variation of the format on your main channel (a country station puts "classic country" on one sub-channel and "rock country" on another), don't you just dilute your main channel's audience? Same with TV. You put re-runs on there of syndicated shows like Seinfeld or Jeopardy that you have on your main channel , if the syndicators allow such a thing, and it may just out-pull your 7 o'clock newscast!

And there is the tiny little problem of measuring the audiences on those additional channels. Nobody can do it. Stations are selling a pig in a poke. Or offering it as value-added without being able to verify they have any value whatsoever.

Quick. Tell me. Do the TV or radio stations in your market have any compelling content on their new sub-channels? Did you even know they had sub-channels?

Finally, one amateur radio note. I predicted when the FCC did away with the Morse code requirement for obtaining an amateur radio license, it would actually increase the number of ops who would use the mode. I think it is happening. Recent log submissions for CW contests have broken records for numbers of participants. I hear plenty of activity on the bands.

And who could listen to the CW pileups for K5D on Desecheo Island and declare that Morse is moribund?

73,

Don Keith N4KC
http://www.n4kc.com/
http://www.donkeith.com/

4 comments:

goody said...

Finally, one amateur radio note. I predicted when the FCC did away with the Morse code requirement for obtaining an amateur radio license, it would actually increase the number of ops who would use the mode. I think it is happening. Recent log submissions for CW contests have broken records for numbers of participants. I hear plenty of activity on the bands.

And who could listen to the CW pileups for K5D on Desecheo Island and declare that Morse is moribund?


I predicted the same thing as well and many disagreed me saying that people wouldn't try CW if they weren't forced to do it. Ironically, the only people I've heard declare that Morse is dead seem to be those who use and love it the most.

We're now two years into the elimination of the code test and amateur radio is still alive and well, despite the predictions of mass destruction.

Anonymous said...

Right, you are, "goody." The analogy has been used before, but how many people don't read today because they were forced to read stuff they didn't want to read way back in school? If CW is the fun and exciting mode we all claim it is (and believe me, I maintain it is the MOST fun and exciting mode!), then people will find it and use it once they get into the hobby.

73 and thanks for stopping by. I enjoyed visiting your blog as well.

Don N4KC

buzz said...

> [HD Radio and DTV] makes any radio or TV station equal two or three radio or TV stations.

Owned by the same licensee, that is. Where digital technology could have increased the number and diversity of broadcasters, we have used it only to increase the number of transmissions from the same parties.

Anonymous said...

You are correct, of course, "buzz." I confess back when the FCC first began allowing ownership of more than an AM and FM in the same market, I thought it was a capital idea. I figured the better operators would get more stations and make them better. Wrong! It became a land rush, with those who could get the most venture capital or print the most stock certificates able (and obligated) to snap up every possible signal until they filled out their allotment in each market. At no point did they consider how they would make money with them. Same thing as with the sub-channels for HD radio. All they did was carve up the available audience into even smaller slices of pie, even as myriad other sources became available. What a mess!

Don