The battle is not lost if you’re still
around to bitch about it. Armies,
Skittles, Coca Cola and a hairbrush.
These are things that cloud your
mind on a Sunday night.
There’s work and school to
think about. You’d rather
drink a beer, eat some trout.
You’d like to read
and write and sleep til noon. Not
gonna happen, no restaurant,
There are things to think about
that sabotage sleep. There are
things to think about that will
make you weep. In the morning
I and you and you
will meet on radio to discuss
My desire to do so is ultramicroscopic.
Rape, murder, child molestation.
Cops shot, traffic, illegal immigration.
There is sunshine in Phoenix, I want
to go see it.
I’d rather listen to the radio, then
wake up and be it.
That’s right. It’s a Sunday night. Last Monday, the three or four of you and I woke to:
These are all alleged because they have to be. Tomorrow, we will address two cops shot outside a Highland bar, one in the head. Whatever happened did so about 2:45 in the morning. There are guns everywhere.
The second story that we’ll have to go over is another school shooting. This one in Sante Fe, Texas. Ten dead, more injured. The Texas governor came on today and said – “the teachers are our militia now.” The governor blamed school shootings on video games. I’ve always been a pretty solid believer in our right to bear arms. Don’t mess with it. But I’m starting to rethink gun regulation as I prepare to talk about iy on the air for three hours.
It’s hard to believe, but at the age of 56, I spent my entire weekend doing Marketing homework. It’s a summer class. That means you do 16 weeks work in six weeks. We’re going way back to the high school days. It’s Sunday night. You didn’t your homework. You wind up studying past midnight. Things don’t change no matter how hard you try.
One of the things I’m getting acquainted with is case studies. I’m a little embarrassed to admit to this, but a few weeks ago I went to my Marketing professor’s office hours. I sat on the floor outside her office until the door opened. It’s something I rarely did at Berkeley, or IU, or UCLA, or Occidental or Northwestern, or, until now, Purdue. Now I go to office hours. I sat on the ground with my backpack in my lap. Professors half my age walked by on the way to the bathrooms. You could see the wonder in their faces = What’s this old man doing on the floor?
I was there to ask my Marketing professor if there were missing pages to the case studies that we were covering in class. I’d read these case studies – Red Lobster, Virgin Mobile, etc. – and when I’d get to the end, I’d look for the missing pages.
“I have a question for you, professor. But I’ll only ask it if you promise not to laugh,” I said. She’s from the Middle East. She pronounces words with the emphasis on the wrong syllables. She knows her marketing. Her name is Minoo Tashoori.
“OK. I won’t laugh.”
“Are there pages missing from these case studies?”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean that it’s been 33 years since I’ve been in school. I never did a case study in my life. I read these things and there’s no questions at the end and there’s no discussion points or review problems. There’s nothing. They just end.”
She smiled but she didn’t laugh. She took a deep breath. “OK. I see…” And with grace and patience, she explained to me what a case study is and why it doesn’t have an ending. Basically, case studies exist so that you can have a discussion. You examine the element of the case and try to determine what the managers involved should do. Case studies are learning tools. They don’t have questions at the end.
“And, no, you aren’t missing any pages.” I’m sure she tells this story to her girlfriends at the bar.
After a few case studies, you get the hang of it. A company faces challenges and they have several different options going forward. You have to map out at least one of these options and defend why the managers should do what you say. You get to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and make decisions about someone else’s money. I have not done this. I have always worked for myself.
I had a paper route
I worked for my dad and uncle’s construction company, which was kind of like working for myself
I opened my own sprinkler company
I traded for my own account for 18 years at the Board of Trade
I ran my own 85,000 circulation newspaper
I run a couple radio stations
I’m delving into streaming video.
In all of these, I have basically been my own boss. True, growing up in construction, there were bosses like my dad and uncle and older cousins. But eventually I started my own company – Jenal Construction. It’s a combination of the names of my little sisters, Jennifer and Allison. I forgot to put that business in the above list.
The point I’m trying to get to is that I want to set up a case study for the summer. I want to budget $20,000 to set up a marketing department to figure out what to do with our millions of live streaming video views.
Here’s some of the fact pattern of the case, in no particular order:
In the meantime, we have invested heavily in streaming video. Here’s a few of the things we’ve found:
Perhaps the most important element that the three or four of you need to know is that, as it stands, we don’t have a marketing department. That goes for radio and streaming video. We don’t solicit new radio business and the business we have we don’t service well. We just do radio and enough money walks through the door so that we can continue. What’s left over I invest in streaming video.
This method – PMS: the Passive Marketing System – does have an upside. Since we don’t have a sales department, we don’t spend much. We pass on the savings to the people who walk through the door.
But how long can that last? I have already lived one life of John Henry. You know him. He died with a hammer in his hand. He tried to beat technology and lost. So did I.
That was at the Board of Trade. I traded in the pits using hand signals and my voice for 18 years. Then the music died. The pits went away. The computer took over. Poof.
Next, I bought a couple radio stations… and a newspaper. These too are dying industries. But a funny thing happened. We rediscovered the beauty that is WJOB. There’s a spirit that spans generations. It just won’t die. We do dozens of live shows. Hundreds of people grace the airwaves in a week. It’s a busy, bustling couple of local radio stations.
But I know it won’t last. Technology will beat radio, is beating radio. Sure, there’s enough money that walks through the door to keep it at a low hum. But I already lived what happens if you don’t prepare for the future. The spirit of WJOB is good and pure and beautiful. It can transfer to live streaming video.
There’s a couple other things I learned from trading at the Board of Trade.
There’s another factor to consider– Purdue Northwest. We are located on the campus of this highly technical university. There’s tons of talent I can hire at a reasonable rate. The talent gives me their best for a while. I teach them a few things. Most often, they move on.
As a matter of fact, the Times of NWI just did an article about the woman who just became lead producer of Lester Holt’s nightly news on NBC. Alexis and I watch Lester every night. We used to watch the previous host, Brian. He got caught lying about bullets flying at his helicopter. His name is Brian Williams. Alexis would mix it up and call him “Brian Jennings,” an obvious compilation of Brian Williams and Peter Jennings. Also, our football announcer is named “Brian Jennings.” Alexis had a TV crush on Brian Jennings-Williams. I’m glad it’s Lester now.
But it turns out that the woman who just became lead producer for Lester Holt once interned for us at WJOB. The woman went to Columbia College downtown then. I think I remember her, but I suffer from CRS.
My plan right now for the case study over the summer is to allocate $20,000 to start up a marketing department for streaming video. I plan:
Here’s how I selected the numbers.
That’s a $20,000 budget through August. What should we hope to take in?
This is a difficult question. Since we have never sold advertising around our streaming video, we don’t have any cost numbers. We can only estimate. I’ll estimate that we’ll do streaming video at, say, 50% margin. If that’s the case, if we write $40,000 in business, we’ll break even. (Note that for now I’m excluding all fixed costs.)
I don’t expect to break even. We really just want to discover if there is revenue to be had from all of these streaming video views that we get.
Two of my marketing professors told me the same thing:
“You have to educate local businesses about the benefits of advertising on local streaming video.”
I am taking their advice. And I am taking the case study to the real world. I have hired two PNW people – Mark and Christina. I’ll probably hire one more. We have met a couple of times. They don’t really know the whole plan right now. I’ll explain it to them soon.
Normally in the summer, we bring on broadcasting interns. This year, we’re bringing on marketing interns. That should do it for tonight. Let’s talk tomorrow.
One more glass of water before I
One more taste of carmel popcorn.
One more warm Spring shower.
One more kiss of the woman I
have loved for 30 years. Just
let me lie down inside
her one more time.
Without the will to lick a popsicle on a
hot summer day, you might wind up
reading the Wall Street Journal
in an armchair on Armistice Day.
In the beginning, there was yelling.
Then came radio. On the way to
the forum, the internet came along.
All hell broke loose.
A black cat in the alley wears a
White stripe across his or her back.
Brown paws. Good thing, too,
because he just ran across my path.
Chalice on the nightstand,
Bible in the barracks.
Love the world as it is
and you’ll never go
It’s a Friday afternoon at the WJOB studios on the campus of Purdue Northwest. There’s a certain relaxed feeling that comes to radio stations on Friday afternoons. Few people stop by. Even fewer schedule taping sessions. The Purdue Commercialization Center gets kind of dead in general. All in all, it’s not a bad place to be on a Friday afternoon.
It’s not bad, this life of local radio. This morning, I did the radio show by myself for a couple of hours. It’s the one-year anniversary of the Robert Mueller investigation into possible collusion with the Russians in the 2016 election by Donald Trump. What played out on my airwaves is what plays out every day in America - supreme division.
Caller Mike – Why haven’t we investigated Democrats for doing the same thing? Especially Hillary? “Lock her up. Lock her up.”
Dan – It would be great if Mueller would come out and say there was no collusion. Until he does, we gotta keep on keepin’ on with the investigation. We gotta know.
Pete – So the Russians are just doing what all of the politicians do on WJOB: they’re just pushing their candidates.
Tom – How about the 30 million that foreigners paid to the NRA?
Dave – How about how Saudi Arabia gives millions to the International Chamber of Commerce? Couldn’t that be collusion?
It goes on. Somewhere in there I give my two cents, which is essentially that we can all listen to each other and on the other side synthesize some sort of way to go forward. It’s difficult these days. There’s a lot of hate out there and there’s not a lot of people doing the kind of radio that I do. I own my radio stations. I can pretty much do whatever I want on the air. I choose to host a show in the tradition of Larry Peterson, the great newsman who worked here for 37 years. He taught me in the mid 1980s. I am forever grateful.
What Larry did and what I do, though, is not in fashion. Part of it is that I just don’t have that strong of political convictions. Maybe it’s because I started out at 23 years old watching Larry. I learned early on to put my political leanings to the back of the theater. After a while, you forget that they’re there. You wind up being part of the IRDGAF party.
I Really Don’t Give a F---.
After a couple hours of this, Chuck Hughes came in the studio. He’s the executive director of the Gary Chamber of Commerce. That’s his job. Sports is his passion.
We talked about the 1955 Gary Roosevelt state runner-up basketball team. Roosevelt, all black, played Indianapolis Crispus Attucks, all black too. Attucks won. They had Oscar Robertson. There was no celebration in Indy when they won. Figure out why.
The irony here is that this 1955 game between two black schools was one year after the Milan state championship. You know that one. That’s the one Gene Hackman made a movie out of. It’s called “Hoosiers.” The irony here is that if you’re a small white school – Milan – and you beat a large school that has blacks on it – the Bearcats – then you get a movie made about you.
But if you’re a black school that beats another black school for the Indiana high school basketball championship, then you’re left out of any sort of celebration. You figure out the world in 1955. I wasn’t around then. My only understanding of it comes from books and guys like Chuck Hughes.
After the show this morning, I did what I usually do on Friday mornings. I went to my sister’s house to pick up my nephew Jack for breakfast.
“Great show this morning,” my brother-in-law Mark said from the john. He’s always on the john when I come on Friday mornings. I mentioned this to Jack.
“Your dad’s always on the john when I come here Fridays. How long does he sit in there?”
“Like a half an hour. And he talks to us in the kitchen through a crack in the door. It’s disgusting.”
The only reason that I tell this to the three or four of you is that Rick Kubic is doing a radio show right now on why guys sit for so long on the toilet. “Women do their business and get out. Men sit forever. Why?”
You can talk about stuff like this on a Friday. The regular rules don’t apply. It’s more open, forgiving.
Jack and I went for breakfast. He likes to sit at the counter at Round-the-Clock Restaurant in Highland, Ind. Jack is quite disappointed if there's no room at the counter. I get two eggs and some potatoes. He orders two eggs, potatoes, bacon, sausage and biscuits and gravy.
“That pie sure looks good,” Jack said. And since I am Uncle Yes, he got a piece of coconut cream that is to die for. On the drive to school, he fell asleep.
“Get up. Time for school.”
“I don’t want to go. Can’t I just go to your house and watch TV.”
“No. You’re the one who ate too much. Besides, it’s your graduation ceremony today.”
Jack and I agreed that since we went to breakfast, I didn’t have to go to his graduation from elementary school. This is my one mistake today. My sister just texted me:
“Jack won a big award… the Darrin Award. It’s for the DARE program. He was chosen as the role model out of the entire class of 90 kids. Chosen by Officer Ghrist.”
“Film?” I texted.
“No… sorry. I was caught off guard.”
There was a simple solution to this. If I was there, I would have stopped Officer Ghrist and made him do it again so I could film it. And you what? He would have. My one regret today is that I wasn’t there for Jack’s award. I was just there for the coconut cream pie.
We bought two radio stations in 2004. For the most of the 14 years since, we haven’t done any marketing. Enough money trickles in on its own in to support the operation. Whatever is left over, I invest in streaming video.
So what we have is basically two operations.
Monday started with news of a murder. According to the instruments we have, namely what police say came from a surveillance camera, there was a basketball game going on at Nunez Park in East Chicago. Two 17-year-olds got into it. One shot at the other, who ducked. The bullet kept going until it hit the head of David Anderson, an 11-year-old. He died.