Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The raging Baby Einstein debate

This just in... babies don't turn into geniuses by watching TV and DVD's! If you don't believe me just ask, the millions of parents who thought sitting a baby in front of a Baby Einstein DVD unattended, thinking it would single handedly give their kid a Harvard education.

If you are unfamiliar with the situation, it seems that for years the Baby Einstein line of products, most notably the "educational" DVD's have been under attack by groups led by the likes of Susan Linn, director of Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, complaining that the products did not achieve adequate results versus the claims made by Disney.

The company was started by Julie Aigner-Clark and her husband in 1997 when they produced a VHS that was later released as "Language Nursery." If you want more history, check the website here.

Here for your judgement and education (or lack of it depending on your point of view) if you have never seen a Baby Einstein DVD for yourself, is a clip from Baby Einstein's "Baby's First Signs."

I hoped you watched very careful for at least a few minutes. Now you tell me if you think that this and this alone could turn your child into the world's smartest toddler. It's obviously not the "get smart quick" scheme the bitter parents raising the ruckus hoped it was, and now they are pissed.

Enter the latest shot fired into the controversy. After already retracing the word "educational" from it's marketing strategy back in 2006 after Linn and her organization filed a class action lawsuit against Disney for even making that claim, now they are being strong-armed into offering a "no questions asked" refund for anyone who wishes to return up to four Baby Einstein DVD's.

This whole thing hits home for me as I am a parent who owns all but a couple of the Baby Einstein DVD collection and I find myself scratching my head at the asinine parents who thought that by just watching TV alone, their child would be brilliant.

Lost in all of these fingers pointing to Disney and their "deceptive marketing" are the fingers pointing back to the parents for taking a little responsibility in raising their kids instead of relying on someone else to do it for them.

These DVD's, like any other product that has been created for children, was meant to be a tool to supplement parent/child interactions, not replace them. It was never advertised as the "golden key" that would somehow unlock your kids inner Einstein and allow them to cure cancer by age three.
A good friend of mine and a worthy adversary in the arena of debate posed this point in one of our discussions she said, "Disney's claim of these DVD's being education was misleading and false advertising." I will concede that for most parents, yes, the appeal of a magical DVD that is supposed to educate your child with little to no effort is a very appealing idea....but.

By that same argument can I not sue 6 Minute Abs for my abs not looking like Arnold Schwarzenegger in his early days? Or can I go after every "earn money overnight" company that floods my cable at night.

Sadly, I can't because despite their lofty claims, I am cognizant of the simple fact

that there is no easy one step way to get things in this world. A realization that is sorely lacking in the parenting world.

My daughter is not smart because she watches Baby Einstein, but because, she and I and her mother took the time to sit and watch it with her, explain to her what she saw, and continued to apply what she was learning in her everyday activity. Some might call that, oh I don't know, parenting...

Thankfully mine is not the only voice speaking on behalf of these videos. This mother pretty much says all the things I was thinking and only proves that not all parents hate the franchise. To me, this is just another in an ever-growing list of people who are lacking accountability for their shortcomings.

They are just another body a long line that is growing longer by the day. Maybe if they spent half the time with their kids then that the spent complaining about the videos, they would have the problems they have today...just saying.

I for one stand by the product and like everything else in this world be it book, video, crayons, flash cards... when used correctly, can be a very powerful and yes educational tool.

By the way...did you get a good look at ol Susan Linn's website? Why does it seem like everyone who goes up against a giant, always seems to have an agenda?

Nevermind the fact that the front page of a site that is supposed to be about an organization about kids is just one big commercial for her books.

Makes me wonder how much she is doing this for the good of the kids, or to ensure her spot on the best-sellers list...hmmm.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Obama's Fox News embargo

So, I don't normally get political. I figure there are enough Harvard educated people out there who get paid to complain about the government and its policies and procedures, that I don't have to add my ignorant voice to the mix.
But this is different, this concerns the media, which I happen to know a few things about. So here are my two Abraham Lincoln's on the whole issue.
Now do me a favor, (if you can stomach it) click on to the Fox News Channel even if it is 5 minutes. If you can't, I understand, I will give you a piece they (Fox News) aired regarding the war on Fox.

My personal politics aside, I do find watching any of the programming on Fox News almost as painful as watching "Keeping up with the Kardashians" and if you are an avid rantaholic, you know how much I hate those stupid shows.
The truth of the matter is that Fox News has ceased actually covering the news a long time ago. Instead the pack of obvious republican reports began attempting to influence the news since it's fearless founder Rupert Murdoch discovered how he could use his news channel to push his personal agenda.
Watch the movie Outfoxed; listen to the arguments made by the makers of the documentary, then compare them to what you see by watching the channel for a whole day. Makes you kind of sick to call these guys "fair and balanced" journalists right? Me too...
Any one who has been lucky enough to clip on a press pass and charge into a controversy looking for a story will tell you that their responsibility first and foremost is to get the facts of the story and to report those facts to their audience. No where in that story is room for the reporters opinion or political agenda.
If there is a vehicle accident where 4 passengers were killed by a drunk driver, the story should reflect the incidents surrounding the accident itself and how those death occurred, not a glaring editorial on the horrors of drunk driving. That is what an editorial is for, not a news story.
In much the same fashion, Fox News has been blurring the line between news and opinion for decades and when they aren't attacking every liberal in sight on their "opinion" shows, they are running headlines that support those opinions. A great mashup of that point can be found here.
So it comes as no surprise to this ranter, that Obama wishes to have nothing to do with Fox News or any one of the television personalties who grace its set.
Look, if you told me that on may way home there would be an alley of kids who were waiting to kick my ass, take my lunch money and break my legs... do you think I would be dumb enough to walk down that alley? There are a million other analogies I can come up with, but they are far to inappropriate even for me, but you get the point right?
If you know someone is going to go out of their way to harm you, distort what you say, or just overall be foolish in their attempts to take you down, why would anyone want a piece of that action? I for one do not blame the president for his stance on not allowing known enemies in his gates.
And lets add this to the mix, Fox News has made Obama their enemy since day one, not the other way around. I remember on election day as the results were starting to become final around the country, making it a point to flip over to good old FNC to see how the handled announcing Barack Obama the new President of the United States of America. Needless to say, the actual statement came with no real excitement.
Now before the pro Foxers come out with their stones, I am not saying they should not exist. There is a need for healthy debate in this nation and the fine folks at Fox News sure do a good job of striking up that debate and love 'em or hate 'em, they serve their purpose in a free society. I have nothing against them or what they do, but why not call a spade a spade. Fox News is not news, it is a series of opinions mascaraing as legit news gathering.
Again, this is not an argument I have to make, they make it themselves on a nightly basis. And it seems to me that the day Murdoch and his drones come clean and admit that fact, is the day they get to play in the big kids playground again.
Obama and the White House has put the ball in're move O'Reilly, Hannity, Murdoch... what now?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The art of a good rant

For those of you who have been tuning in to Rod's Rants lately hoping to see a good old fashion rantathon, I apologize. As the planning continued, this thing took on a life of its own and got a wee bit bigger than I had originally anticipated. So to make up for that fact, I had to continue to reschedule.

I then decided to launch a new site for this special event, (that is why you are on my blogspot address rather than which has put me in a whirlwind of nameserver problems and this website pointing to that DNS which is pointing to someone else’s CNAME and to top it all off, the webhost I am using saw the need to review my website for malicious content FOR THE WHOLE DAY, thus limiting my ability to work on the site.

SO needless to say, the rantahon will have to wait until after the weekend and all problems aside, should roll on Monday.

Thank you to those participants who have weathered through the storm I give you my word that my ranting will soon be heard for a full day.

With that being said....To the topic

Anyone can spout off at the mouth. It doesn’t take a person with an education to say what is on their mind; they just have to know how to speak a language with some, some mind you, level of proficiency.

To that end I present to you this young man. He has something to say and dammit all if he doesn't beat around the bush. Two things before you watch this.

  1. This is NOT, I repeat NOT for those who might be easily offended by ignorance and the language that goes with that ignorance.
  2. This video is long, you get the gist within the first few minutes, but if you make it that far, you might as well suffer through the rest, if only for your own education.
Disclaimers you go...

So believe it or not, this is NOT a good rant. A good rant can not just be spewed out like the chaw that guy is wanting to impeach the president over.
A good rant must be crafted like a fine piece of china. It must be researched and developed so that if someone attacks your point of view, you can defend it without having to resort to your American/Rebel flag.
And last, but certainly not least, must not contain the same argument, for 7 minutes. It's fine if you want to argue the importance of chewing tobacco, but make sure you have a better presentation than a string of insults.
Talk policy and revenue, may even the impact of the ban on the economy as a whole, that would have made for a better rant. No my redneck friend, yours is not a rant, merely an example of what not to do, and a rather good one at that.
So in review, when constructing a good rant, neigh, a great rant. Follow these three simple steps:
  1. Do your research - An educated argument is far more powerful than one where you as a ranter clearly have no clue what the hell you are talking about.
  2. Use language appropriate to your argument - You ever heard the expression, "don't bring a knife to a gun fight?" Well the same holds true in a rant. A bag full of four-letter words won't do you any good in front of an educated audience. Likewise, you may find yourself banging your head against a wall when trying to appeal to someone with the maturity of a third grader.
  3. Be prepared to lose friends - A powerful ranter ruffles feathers, that is his/her nature. Know that your opinion, whatever it may be, will not always be that of your friends. That being the case, unless you and your friends engage in spirited debates on a regular basis, they may not like what you have to say. And, if they are weak and petty and do not know how to get along with those with a difference of opinion, you might not see them by the water cooler tomorrow at work. Don't fear, either they will come to their senses and realize how unfair they are being, or they really weren't that good a friend in the first place.
So there you have it, the art of a good rant. You have the tools, what you do with them is up to you! Go forth rantaholics and wreak havoc upon the blogoshpere!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Why toddler do not belong in tiaras

The very thought of this disturbs me in ways that I can't even describe... but I will try after you watch this short clip.

How is this even possible? I know this stupid show on TLC has been covering this age old phenomenon since January of this year, but I got to ask the big execs on high..WHY??
There is something seriously wrong with these parents, and there was in more cases than not, something wrong with their parents. It is one thing to live out your childhood dreams vicariously through your own kids, but this is freaking ridiculous!
At no point should a 6 year old KID, be forced to prance around looking like she is 26. And did you catch the newborn caught up in this? The poor thing is barely old enough to hold up his own head, let alone know he is being paraded on stage like a trophy.
These kinds of parents are the same ones who start crying to Dateline, that their daughters are being approached by older men and they can't understand why they are half naked on their Myspace pages.
Earth to morons... you made your kid grow up to fast!! Instead of kicking around a soccer ball or swinging a t-ball bat, or even god forbid, letting them make a mess of themselves in a mudhole... you taught them how to properly apply eyeliner, how to strut around like a stripper and how to keep their swimsuits from riding up their butts.
SHAME ON YOU! I wish it were possible to ship you all off to a secluded island with your kids so you can no longer breed and mess up our world. You have lost your gene pool privilege, turn your key back to the gate guard on the way out.
It's one thing to play dress-up every once in a while for fun... but this is just plain pathetic. I can't wait for 10 years for now when TLC airs.."Toddler & Tiaras; Where are they now", no wait, they all ready have a show like that on MTV, it's called "16 and Pregnant."
Until then....go ahead and let your toddlers do their little turns on the catwalk, just don't complain to me when they are damaged goods by the time they hit their teens.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Presenting the WTF?!?!? moment of this weekend

Watch this hit...

Sports Videos, News, Blogs
Insane right? Now I know that football is a physical sport and that these types of collisions happen...but with that being said WTF were you thinking Dante Wesley?
Granted, that hit was pretty awesome, he led with his shoulder, not the helmet, and left his feet, both of which are perfectly fine, but his first mistake came with the "forearm contact with the head and neck area." Also he made another big mistake... what was it again?
Oh yeah, Tampa Bay's Clifton Smith didn't have the ball, and to make matters worse, called for a fair catch, or so the refs said. Personally, I am still not sold on the fair catch call, but that's besides the point.
It is one thing Mr. Wesley to lay the guy out the way you did, (by the way, did I say how awesome that hit was) but next time, you might want to make sure he HAS THE FREAKING BALL!!
Wesley is no rookie either, this is his 8th year in the league, so you can't really chalk it up to an ignorant mistake.
For his transgressions Dante will receive a one game suspension without pay. Which is probably a far less number than the $25,000 fine fellow defensive player and Baltimore Ravens Hall of Fame linebacker Ray Lewis incurred for his hit on the Bengals receiver formerly known as Chad Johnson.
Got to hand it to the guy though, he did man up to what he did. In a quote from a story in the Charlotte Observer the hard hitting DB apologized to the fans and to Smith and expressed that he would accept and agreed with his punishment.
All that withstanding, congratulations Dante Wesley of the Carolina Panters, you still receive the WTF!?!? moment of the weekend...please enjoy your day off.

Friday, October 16, 2009

I am Ironwebman!

Or at least I will be soon...

So I have been preaching for weeks to some of you, months for others, and years to the rest, that Internet television is the wave of the future. Well, come this Tuesday, I will be ushering in a new era for me and my push to secure my spot in this future.
Beginning at 8am (not 6 like I posted on Twitter, sorry for the bad info), I will begin a 24 hour, live webcast. I will host a show that will continue for one entire day ending at 8am Wednesday.
Throughout the broadcast I will be taking contributions of which a portion will be donated to one or two worthy programs, possibly the Community Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired, and Paws for Paws pending verification.
Now to put your mind at ease, this will not be just me sitting in front of a camera talking for 24 hours, that my friend, would be insane. I will be joined by many guests throughout the show, maybe even some of you, to talk and do some self promotion for whatever event is going on or whatever issues there are to discuss.
I know, you are asking yourself..."why Rod? What would drive you to this madness?"
Well, for one, I feel it is time for me to step up to the plate and step down from the pulpit, meaning I am going to start shutting up and start putting up. Also it is just another way for me to contribute to the Stockton media scene.
This initial broadcast will also be ushering in a new show that will continue in some manner after the marathon. There are methods to my madness... I promise.
More information will be available tomorrow including where to find the broadcast, how to be on the show and more importantly, how to contribute. Keep checking my Twitter and my Facebook for the updates... Until then, I am going to get some sleep... I am going to need it...

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Non-flight of the Falcon

Today's post was going to be about the fine art of Googling oneself, but thanks to the media's, both social and traditional, relentless coverage and updates of Falcon, the wonder 6 year old and his epic non-flight in his families "experimental" aircraft, that post has been preempted.
For those four of you who may have had your head in the sand today (believe me, I wish I could have joined you) or were not close to your web browsing device of choice, the story de jour was a family who's son supposedly was traveling through the sky after he climbed in and let loose a homemade, mylar aircraft.
According to early reports there were fears that the contraption would not be able to support young Falcon or that he might have possibly fallen out through the unlocked carriage door.
This horrific story blitzed Twitter tweets and Facebook status updates the world over. National media picked up the story as CNN made it a point to follow the balloon's trip all the way to its completion. The news even jumped the pond and crossed our northern border as well. Hell, even the middle east was watching.
But here's the twist... Falcon was never in that balloon, he was hiding in the attic in a box. Apparently the young gentleman "played with his toys and took a nap."
WTF?? Can I be the one millionth person to call shenanigans?? How in the name of everything holy, can this be considered CNN worthy news? This reeks of a story invented to grab some attention, more like a boy crying "wolf" than a boy stuck in a well.
More over, as the back story began to unfold on Falcon's family, it turns out they were participants on the ABC show "Wife Swap," and frequent ireporters for CNN. Hmmm.... that fish smell sure is getting stronger.
Now of course this story becomes fair game since the boy was found at home instead of splattered on a Kansas field somewhere, and any joke anyone makes now won't sound as heartless as it would if Falcon was in that craft and did suffer a terrible fate, but you have to ask yourself, why was this such a barn burning media sensation? And, if this was all an attempt to extend the Henne's 15 minutes, why did we all buy into it so whole-heartedly?
For that, allow me to refer to my last post about reality television... these are ramifications of handing the keys of celebrity to the undeserving. But thank god for 6 year olds and their inability to lie under pressure.
Here is an excerpt from an interview with Wolf Blitzer shortly after Falcon was found:

Did you hear the part where Falcon admitted they did it all for a show... and did you catch the quick tap dancing act the dad did to cover it up? Let's face facts, we have been had. Move on, good night.
Part of the conspiracy theory side of my brain even thinks we have the ABC execs to thank for this. Maybe a clause in the contract stating that at any time they can be "tapped" to help ratings for the new season about to start soon?
One things for sure though, I do have to say if we take one thing out of this crazy situation is, it has proven me right about the power of the web.
This story was like a buffet for the users of social media. A CNN story reported the numerous tweets as well as at least three fan pages on Facebook popped up almost immediately. On top of that, t-shirts and a spoof video have surfaced, even as the story continues to unfold. CNN may have started us on the path, but the web took our heads and held it underwater until we drowned in the insanity. It's how I found out...
But in the end, thank you Henne's for proving to the world that it is alright to exploit our 6 year old children in the name of do us all a favor and disappear back to obscurity, your hourglass has run out of sand.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Un-reality TV: Bad for TV, good for us

I have stated before in this blog that everyone has a voice.. well some people should have the right to that voice revoked... Case and point, every "star" of today's crop of reality shows.
Allow me to start with the show I feel is the biggest waste of air time on the boob tube, The Hills.
I do not watch this show, nor have I even made it through an episode from beginning to end, and normally I would tell someone who told me that, "but you never gave it a chance," to which I now reply, "if I look down and see a piece of s@#t on the ground, do I have to give it a chance to prove it's really s#$t?
Here, just take a look at what I mean:

Three things I despise about these people even after one and a half minutes of "show"
  1. The fact that these worthless vapid people who are famous for no other reason than being famous can afford a house like that with money they didn't really do anything to earn.
  2. That people actually care about the mundane everyday life of people like this.
  3. That they are considering procreating
One quick bonus for you, did you catch the part where Hedi says, "I didn't really like it at first, but it is starting to grow on me." I know some guys under the freeway overpass who would love one night in that place, let alone to actually live there.. ungrateful b*&^h!
The sad fact of the matter is that this show is not the only one polluting our senses night after night. The Kardashians, the girls next door, has beens from decades past who dance, the list seems almost endless, but they all have one major flaw in common, they started being staged and stopped being real.
LC, formerly of the Hills, admitted to the fact in an interview on The View and told the ladies that she was not even on the receiving end of a phone call that was supposedly an apology to her. And I am willing to bet dollars to pesos, that is not the only thing that has been doctored in The Hills, or any other so-called "reality show" nowadays.
But why is that good for us? Well as television's free fall continues from all the garbage it is cheaply producing, it leaves viewers looking for people who are less fake than the reality "stars" they are forced to consume.
Enter: the Internet. A place where the people are as real as the video phone they are using to shoot their lives. As long as real people have real things to say and do and as long as there is an Internet to house such people, crowds will force.
So I say, bring on more Hedi and Spencer (for now)! Keep making the kind of crap that sends those who are smart enough to know a turd when they see one to my website. And when the dust settles and it's all said and done, I think the unrealization of reality TV has given rise to the new crop of real stars and written it's own obituary.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Why the fuss about Phil?

No not the Dr., the self-described "new media entertainer."
Philip DeFranco is a YouTube phenomenon, one of the many voices on a site filled (pardon the pun) with random, crazy, wacked out people clambering for their 15 minutes.
So how is it out of all those voices, his has been heard over 23 million times in 3 years? And what is it about this one man that has prompted many like him, to band together to take over the Internet and change the way we watch videos on the web? I'll let you watch this first and form your own opinion before I give you mine. (Warning some mature language...)

Again I say that Phil is one of many people who voices their opinion on YouTube, but what sets him apart is his delivery and personality. That combination caught the eyes of people with money and now Phil is getting paid to produce his YouTube content as well content for his own Vlog and his website/blog.
Imagine, being able to quit your day job and get paid to rant about whatever social issue is popular at the time. Well, Phil doesn't have to imagine anymore, he is one of the growing number of YouTubers who are beginning to change the landscape of modern media on the web.
Several other prominent figures from the web have joined forces to form what they call "The Station," which as of right now just a collection of videos individually produced by the founders of the channel. But, it will soon feature web series and other network-type programming ushering in what I am considering one of the Internet's first "official" web networks.
As of now content on the web is spread across several sites and even those sites who produce "webesodes," or episodes for the web, dedicate their programming to the subject or genre of their site.
This new experiment is important in that if it is successful, it will open the door for the web's acceptance of true Internet networks, making local Internet television much more feasible.
If you need proof that the web is a major player and will be become an increasing threat to television as we know it, ask the almost 8 million people a year who tune in to sxephil, and the millions more who watch less TV thanks to their favorite web videos.
And more than that, look at all the shows on TV itself that focus on the webs latest viral videos. The web is here, it is now and it can be made into whatever we want. It will soon become the most popular vehicle for our education and entertainment.
Don't agree? Take a look at where you are at right now....

Friday, October 9, 2009

A very interesting juxtaposition

Found this today thanks to a link posting from a friend on first, then we talk.
Ledger Live: newspapers and porn share economic bind

I know my readers are mature enough to handle the content of this video, so I will ignore the snickers... But the simple truth is that this video is the epitome of Internet media and its future. One camera, one mic, one message (and a few porn stars to boot).
It also did a very good job of hooking an audience, who can resist a good story about porn? But seriously, while whimsical, this story had great points about the status of the status quo and how the web has shaken the very foundations of modern media.
What we can take away from this introspective is in the simple idea introduces towards the end of this video in that, "everyone has a voice" the real question is, what will you do with that voice?
As out #stir movement continues to roll with this free flow of ideas and information, lets remember that people will tune in to our podcasts, read our blogs, follow us on Twitter, only, if we give them a good reason to stray from the familiar.
We have to continue to give them content they can not get anywhere else, or at the very least, package it in a more attractive way than our competitors.
It very much is the only way to survive in the current age of content overflow...even porn stars know it....

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Crabtree syndrome

And really sports fans, lets call it like it is... a syndrome.

Sure Michael Crabtree isn't the first NFL player to suffer from this, but hell pigs and birds weren't the first to have the flu either right?
So for those of you not in the know, the San Francisco 49ers 1st round draft pick finally signed a six year deal with the team this week. I will not get into the details of the deal or the events leading up to it, a simple Google search will get you caught up if need be...don't worry, I'll wait.
If you are reading on I assume you are familiar with the way Crabtree was a holdout since the beginning of this season. I can also safely assume that you know he wanted 7th pick money, without being the 7th pick in the draft. But he wasn't alone in this, he had help.
I am not talking about the posse of bad advise givers, no I am talking about the hundreds of kids coming straight out of college with their hands out, demanding what they haven't earned.
Since when did it become all right for a person who has not performed a day in his job to be in a position to demand anything from his future employer? And moreover, how is it acceptable in a league where there are talented veterans who play for just above the league minimum, that a rookie can expect to get paid at least 10 times that without ever so much as stepping on the field?
Taking this one further, these rookies are basically getting paid for what they did in college. Can doctor's hold out for a better contract because they were good med students?
No, they get to start an internship (if they are lucky) and if they can hack that, then they get moved up to a residency, make it past those tough years, they get to call themselves attending. See the ladder?
They don't start out making Chief of Medicine pay, they start out eating ramen and sharing apartments until their hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of student loans are paid off. It takes these professionals YEARS to make a fraction of what these NFL rookies make in a season, and they save lives.
I am a firm believer in a rookie salary cap and more than that, I think a rookie should not even be allowed to start until he has been in the league a full season; not play, just start.
Why you ask...
Well for starters, since we are on the 49ers here, Alex Smith. Smith signed a six year $49 million dollar contract. Of that money, $24 million of that was guaranteed. Now, that money is wasted on a player who did not deserve to start and subsequently became a high priced bench rider.
But it's not all Smith's fault, there have been a slough of washed out, overpaid college kids who just couldn't make the transition to the big, bad, NFL. Ryan Leaf, Akili Smith, Cade McNown... the list (I found a good one here) goes on and on.
Here is an idea, pay me the league minimum of $310,o00 and let me sit my happy ass on the bench all season long. That way you save millions of dollars for players who have proven they can play at the professional level, and I fill a roster slot that would otherwise be occupied by a punk kid who thinks he has earned those millions by being the big man on campus.
Again, whether is was bad advice, or just a naive college football player thinking he knew what he was doing, I don't blame Crabtree so much as I blame the system.
Until we make it clear to these kids that playing in the NFL is a privilege and not their god given right, their prices and egos will continue to go unchecked.
On a side note, how cool do you have to be to have Deon Sanders and MC Hammer at your contract negotiation... I know right??

P.S. I guess the team who drafted you starting out 3-1 without you kind of backfired huh? Next time don't listen to your cousin, unless he has been an agent his whole life.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Why the Internet Rod? Why not the television or radio, or newspapers?

Cause it's global you twit, it will reach farther...

If you can excuse the silly turn of that quote, I think the message speaks for itself. When we think of the world of online media, we have to think of the world of online media. As many of us podcasters and bloggers know by checking out the analytics of our sites, we, for whatever reason, have fans all over the world. That is to say that our words, be them written, spoken or videotaped, are reaching a global audience.
"But Rod, aren't you the champion for all things local?"
To answer your question, yes I am. But stop and think for one second the power of a local message over the tubes of the web versus the limited (albeit recently expanded thanks to the digital conversion) broadcast power of your local television station.
Again I make reference to the fact that we can finally be the masters of the image of our town, but more important than that is the ability for those who have moved away and cannot watch an entire network newscast, to reconnect with the goings on in their old hometown.
I can't tell you how many times while in the Army I longed for a few words from home. Even the power of the Internet couldn't help at the time since in it's early stages, newspapers avoided the Internet like the plague, only major networks even bothered to put short video segments on their websites, and radio...well there was radio. Several years later, things have changed yet stayed the same.
Newspapers are now online and beginning to realize that the only way they will survive the juggernaut that is the Internet is to stay on for the ride as long as they can. Now, you can find most of the days top stories on local news television stations websites. The only medium that I think made the smartest move is radio. The fact that they now stream their entire broadcast live 24/7 makes them a much more attractive place to visit when longing for the familiarity of home. Something about hearing the stingers from your favorite radio station as a child when you are far from home is reassuring.
But this is stuff you all ready know and are probably bored to tears hearing me say it again, so here is where this is all leading. In order to package what we hope to accomplish very soon, we have to try and convince our public, more importantly those who will be funding our endeavor, not to dismiss the power of their words on the web.
An example, and lets use sports since it is something I am mildly familiar with. Grandma in Syracuse is watching her little Johnny play soccer on a Saturday afternoon in Stockton when all of a sudden a commercial plays advertising the Stocktoberfest this Saturday. Grandma is coming to visit on Friday and is staying for the weekend. Johnny's parents ask Grandma what she wants to do for fun and Grandma remembers seeing the Stocktoberfest commercial and decides it's something she wants to check out.
Local message right? Then why should we worry if it makes it to New York, or Germany for that matter... Grandma in Syracuse, she is why we need not think of ad dollars as wasted on the Internet.
I think that is the biggest obstacle that is standing in the way of local minded Internet broadcasters the world over. One I hope we can clear together...

Win the advertisers, win the world...

Monday observations

It was during a Sunday visit to my uncle's house that I realized two of the biggest obstacles to the Internet media movement...fear and ignorance.
After watching him fumble through even the simple steps of opening a web browser, finding YouTube, then signing up for it and eventually finding what he wanted to watch, all the while growing more frustrated by his lack of success, I realized that sometimes I overestimate the common denominator when it comes to the Internet. I also realized that some of the so called "security" measures websites are employing are scaring away a generation of people who look fondly on the days when all they had to do to hear their favorite song was drop the arm on their favorite record... presto...instant gratification. No long, drawn out sign-up process, no warped letter that a person with perfect vision has trouble deciphering let alone someone with bifocals, just plain, simple technology.
Those youngsters, or those of us older in the know who are reading this blog don't think twice when we double-click the Chrome icon (*shameless product placement in the hopes that Google will pay me for these blogs...) and the wonderful Interweb opens before our eyes. A few more clicks and you are to your page of choice taking in all the marvelous content you can handle. But stop for a second and take in the fact, that there are those who don't know what a web browser is, let alone what it does.
Why is that important you ask? In my opinion, a couple of reasons really.
1. It stands of the way of those of us with something to sell (ie. content related to them) and a huge number of those who might have bought it if we could have packaged it in a way more familiar to them.
2. Convincing business to advertise on a site that is missing the mark due to a lack of knowledge by it consumers is an almost impossible task.
Which makes the idea of a target demographic one of them most important concepts as we dive into this new world of online media consumption. It is no secret that the generation who has grown up with a computer screen in their face from day one will make the transition smoothly, but do we neglect the ones who have the deeper pockets because of a gap in communication?
That my friends is the big question, not just from a financial standpoint, but in getting the audience we want in general. The hit them where they are philosophy is all well and good, but if we get them there and they don't know what to do...what then? An old saying runs pretty true for us and that is, you can lead a horse to water... well, you know the rest.
Our problem now is more convincing the older horses that our water is not scary or hard to drink. But I still hearken back to another saying which I will tweak some for our purposes... if we build it, and make is simple, they will come.
But before you go thinking it's all doom and gloom, here is an instructional video that might speed the education process along. Sorry, can't embed this one, got to click the link.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Friday question session

A few questions to ponder over the weekend;

If you could...

Watch a nightly newscast dealing with news concerning only Stockton, Lodi, Manteca and Tracy... would you?
Watch your kids, cousins, brothers, sisters, best friends, high school, little league, or any sports event live and on demand...would you?
Keep track of the entertainment that is going on around your town be it the night life, family friendly events or just something to do on a Saturday...would you?
Visit one place to find all of this... would you?

What if I told you that place is on the Internet, would that stop you from wanting it? Do you think you could convince those who are scared of the web to embrace local media from an unfamiliar medium?

If you answered yes to any of those questions, then you understand the importance for a local media presence in Stockton. In the next two weeks, I will be announcing a gathering in which I hope to assemble a group of people who are interested in embarking on a bold new project to take our city's media back from Sacramento. In the meantime take a few minutes to mull over these questions.

If at anytime you thought to yourself, "why," then consider yourself not right for this job....

Thursday, October 1, 2009

AM power put to good use

Many of you in the Twitter world are already aware that I currently produce the only Stockton relevant program on the Stockton based 1280AM KWSX. What you are not aware of are the specifics of this show or the existence of the station itself. Allow me to enlighten those not in the know...
First off, this is not a history lesson on 1280AM or KWSX if you want a full run down check out this thread, Madmansam does a more than adequate job of running down the historic record. Elaboration on my part would just be repetition. Take a second, it's worth the read.
With all that taken care of, let me begin my explanation...
My relationship with KWSX came out of a meeting with the Clear Channel execs stemming from last years Delta RTV mediafest. A program director from a sister station took note of the goings on in the department and realized the potential of a partnership with Delta College Radio and Television. They soon approached and from that was born a half hour community affairs program dedicated to Stockton issues. Community News and Events airs during the industry standard 6am on Sunday and has ran for one month.
Until now I have had representatives from several organizations including the Stockton Symphony, the San Joaquin Food Bank, and even Podcast Stockton. But as this #stir buzz started to gain some steam and the players in this new movement began to come out of hiding that I thought to myself, "We have 1000 watts of AM power at our disposal, this is a movement of community sized proportion, it is time to go public."
To that end I propose this, today many of us will meet for the first time away from our keyboards. Let's find a time that as many of can assemble at once, next week if possible, and get our thoughts on "tape." Not very many bloggers or podcasters can boast the power of 1000 local watts on a radio station. Sure the Internet is global, but this falls under the "hit them where they are" mentality we are trying to foster.
We have the technology, we have the knowledge, now lets find the right ears to hear what we have to say.

Here are the download links for the first three episodes of the show to date: