Wednesday, February 28, 2007
Posted by Jason at 10:21 PM
Well, when you don't post, traffic to the blog drops. My friend Jamen even emailed me today because I hadn't posted in a few days, obviously concerned that he hasn't been able to read my "insightful thoughts." His words, not mine. Thanks for the kind words, amigo. I'm back on the wagon with nothing particular to say.
Not that it matters, but it's always interesting to check out the stat counters that show where readers live and how they found their ways to Platinum Elite. For example, here's some recent keywords that directed people here:
new found glory
continental platinum elite
auntie anne's'pretzel inform source
continental battlefield upgrade
letter to a drunk
supercuts, packard's corner
continental platinum elite contact number
my chemical romance
john keller songwriter
hipster vs. scenster
tony orlando concert boston 2007
Posted by Jason at 10:09 PM
Saturday, February 24, 2007
HD Radio is a relatively new technology being introduced to combat the many challenges to Time Spent Listening and Audience levels of terrestrial radio (for example, ipod listening, Internet listening, Satellite listening).
XM and Sirius Satellite Radio did such an excellent job with their marketing and PR machines that they created cults of personality around their brands, convincing many that terrestrial radio (i.e. AM and FM) was dead. Well, this month both companies are attempting to skirt FCC regulations and antitrust laws in their attempt to created a merged XM-Sirius monopoly. Part of the responsibility of TV and radio stations’ maintaining their licenses is to serve the public. Years ago, the FCC granted two satellite broadcasting licenses in an attempt to further technology without creating a monopoly.
What XM and Sirius fail to mention are their million and millions of dollars in annual losses, while terrestrial radio continues to post solid annual profits in the billions. This merger stands to make lots of money for attorneys and investment bankers, and leave their paying subscribers in the dust with fewer choices with the merged company, and vulnerability to out-of-control price increases. Shame on them.
HD Radio is a digital broadcast by existing AM and FM stations. AM stations in HD sound crystal-clear (like FM), and FM sounds like CD-quality audio with no static or pops. The broadcasting ranges of HD Radio broadcasts, however, are not as geographically expansive as the FM and AM streams. You either receive it or you don’t – no static. WBZ 1030 AM, for example, sounds incredible in HD (when they’re not broadcasting opinionated out-of-touch buffoons).
Many stations in Boston are up and running on HD. Unfortunately, the vast majority of people do not own HD Radio receivers, despite the broadcasting industry’s promotion of the technology. The price point of the receivers is too high for consumers to justify. Once the receivers are given away for free, then HD will better permeate the population.
FM stations can run “side channels” (i..e WBCN HD-2) of separate, unique programming that could complement their main channel, or be entirely different. Jam’n 94.5, for example, runs Old-Skool Hip-Hop on their HD-2. Magic 106.7 runs Smooth Jazz. WBCN calls their HD-2 channel “Indie 104-1”
Stations are facing the chicken and the egg syndrome right now – which comes first…good programming to very few listeners, or more listeners to lead to better programming. WBCN must pay very little time to their HD-2 channel, because it’s always running on haywire.
There are 3 songs that I’m pretty much guaranteed to hear at least one of them if I listen for any given hour – Franz Ferdinand’s “The Fallen,” Yellowcard’s “Ocean Avenue,” or The White Stripes’ “The Denial Twist.” I bought my HD Radio about a year ago (after all, it is my industry and the receiver a tax write off!), and it’s been this way ever since.
This morning, I was doing tax stuff, and popped on WBCN’s HD-2. At first, I thought things had changed with their HD-2 programming, but then things turned ugly, very quickly. I started writing down the songs they played in order of broadcast:
Fall Out Boy – Sugar, We’re Going Down
Muse – Knights of Cydonia
Yellowcard – Ocean Avenue
The White Stripes – Black Math
OK Go – Here We Go Again
Unwritten Law – Seeing Red
Foo Fighters – No Way Back
The Used – The Taste of Ink
+44 – When Your Heart Stops Beating
The Raconteurs – Level
Foo Fighters – Times Like These (acoustic)
AFI – Days of the Phoenix
Foo Fighters – Best of You
AFI – Love Like Winter
Muse – Time Is Running Out
New Found Glory – It’s Not Your Fault
Foo Fighters – All My Life
Red Jumpsuit Apparatus – Face Down
The Used – Take It Away
Yellowcard – Ocean Avenue
Jet – Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is
Brand New – Sic Transit Gloria
Franz Ferdinand – The Fallen
Beck – Nausea
Muse – Hysteria
The Killers – When You Were Young
Story of the Year – Until The Day I Die
Dashboard Confessional – Rooftops & Invitations
Franz Ferdinand – Take Me Out
Franz Ferdinand – Do You Want To
My Chemical Romance – Welcome to the Black Parade
Franz Ferdinand – The Fallen
People on Planes – Barracuda
Keane – Somewhere Only We Know
Taking Back Sunday – Liar
Muse – Time Is Running Out
The White Stripes – The Denial Twist
I stopped writing down songs once I heard one all my guaranteed 3 – only 37 songs in. That’s about 2 ¼ hours at 3 minutes 30 seconds per song. Only 24 unique artists (23 is you put The White Stripes and The Raconteurs together), and 3 songs repeated. I get why some stations repeat songs every 2 hours or so (audience tunes in for short amounts of time, and since the audience is constantly changing, it’s important to play the hottest songs as often as possible without being excessive). But with barely anybody listening, this is the time to be adventurous. Go deeper with core artists. Broaden the artists on the play list. And, for God’s sake, pay attention to the music flow – the artist separation is nonexistent because nobody at WBCN is paying attention to this. It’s embarrassing for them.
After having written this, and keeping the WBCN HD-2 on, I heard 2 more “guaranteed to hear” songs – My Chemical Romance’s “I’m Not Okay “ and Queens of the Stone Age’s “No One Knows.” All their guaranteed songs are decent, but I shouldn’t expect to hear all of them in any 3 hour period…for an entire year.
Posted by Jason at 1:21 PM
Thursday, February 22, 2007
I was reading on a radio news site about the Program Director of 101.7 WFNX taking a new job in LA for Indie 103.1 - a pretty cool station in LA handicapped with a poor signal. I'm an FNX fan, especially the Leftover Lunch show. Props for them.
I'm flying to LA in a couple weeks, and haven't been there since last summer - the longest span for me in years. What's great about radio programming these days is that with Internet broadcasts, you don't have to be in the market of broadcast to hear specific local stations.
I'm more of a fan of Indie 103.1 in concept versus in execution. Their personalities are a bit too "cool for the room," and their music choices fall into the same category. Very little repetition, which also means that the good songs aren't on as often.
I was on their website this evening, and found my way to the MySpace page of one of their DJ's - DJ Paul V. He does something called The Smash Mix, which is a mash-up of 10 or so songs in about 20 minutes. I'm not much of an expert on mash-ups, so I don't know how his stack up globally, but his mash-ups kept me listening all night tonight. I found them pretty amazing, to be honest!
He posts free downloads of each one on his blog (which is now part of the Better Blogs blog roll here on Platinum Elite). All ripped at 128kbps in mp3 format, so they're not pristine audio...but they sound very very good, both sonically and in complexion. The music in the mash-ups is all over the place, with a heavy emphasis on alternative / indie rock songs and sound clips. Many are thematic in nature. Definitely worth a listen. Time for bed.
Posted by Jason at 2:11 AM
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
When I'm on the road and in Airworld, I consume media much differently than I do when at home. I can't recall the last time I woke up in Southie, opened my door to the hallway, and found a USA Today staring at me waiting to be read (although...that would be sweet!) Back home, I'm not often in elevators with live TV's forcing captive audiences to watch the Headline News channel for a few brief moments. I don't often sit in the lobby of our corporate offices with a wide-screen TV displaying CNN or ESPN, welcoming all passersby and visitors.
It's a lot easier to avoid these ridiculous Anna Nicole and Britney stories when I'm at home. Being a part of the broadcasting media, I get why these stories are so hot. We're in a Sweeps month - it's almost like the cameras orchestrated these stories to boost ratings. At the very least, they are milking the stories until they're bone dry. I am definitely not the highbrow NPR / WBUR / Wall Street Journal-type media consumer. USA Today is my choice because of its brevity, pretty pictures, and graphs. But even someone like me can see the absurdity of the media's obsession with these stories. It's borderline irresponsible journalism to focus as much time with these two.
Posted by Jason at 9:23 AM
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
Deservedly, jetBlue has been under huge scrutiny since their brilliant disaster at JFK last week and their continued flights cancellations over the past few days in an effort to resume normal operations. This is the first national PR disaster I can recall for jetBlue - a far contrast from that jet that landed in Long Beach with its landing gear turned 180 degrees, passengers viewing the potential crash live from their seats (as they watched the live DirecTV), and a pretty flawless emergency landing.
I suppose David Neeleman comes across as humble in this video, albeit humble and dull! Our marketing director Bev was affected by their Friday flight out of Austin, but since I was still checking in for my Continental flight to Providence, I told her to buy a one-way with the same itinerary (AUS-CLE-PVD) and I would drive her back to Boston. Good think, because jetBlue offered her a Saturday flight at the earliest, and I bet that was even speculative. And, if she had attempted to fly back on Wednesday, she would have been one of the angry folks sitting on the tarmac for over 6 1/2 hours after landing at JFK.
Free flights for everyone affected is a given. jetBlue should figure out something else to spread the goodwill for everyone affected and turn this PR nightmare from lemons into lemonade.
Posted by Jason at 9:00 AM
Sunday, February 18, 2007
When I began traveling for work years ago, I tried to stay in as many Westins as possible for two simple reasons – The Heavenly Bed and oatmeal soap. I even recall begging other co-workers staying at Westins to hijack the maid carts on their floors during their trips and acquire as many oatmeal soap bars as possible while they were away from their carts, disinfecting wash basins.
During multiple night trips, I was also guilty of not using the products from the first night and simply hiding them in my suitcase so the attendant would leave me another set of the products for me to also not use then and there, but add to my suitcase.
Soon after I started collecting various hotel amenities and bringing them home from my business trips, the next thing I knew, I had two shoeboxes full of soap, lotion, bath gel, shampoo, conditioner, and pretty much anything in little bottles that they left in the bathrooms for me to use. These two boxes are how they stand now – there were more products, and there was a flow of using some and adding others, so the full take over the years was at least double this bounty. I shudder to think of how large this unnecessary collection would be if I had removed the amenities from every hotel I visited.
Now, it’s time to use this crap. The shampoo and conditioner will go quickly. The bath gel will be useful with those scouring body-scrubber things. The soap…I’m a bit concerned that this quantity of soap will be with me for some time. Perhaps I’ll carve some soap animals. And the hand lotion, good lord. Much of this is indeed hand lotion, which I don’t use all that much in the first place.
Posted by Jason at 9:34 AM
Thursday, February 15, 2007
Posted by Jason at 9:51 PM
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
Posted by Jason at 5:41 PM
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
1. Like Austin, this city has a pulse.
2. Both claim musical roots. Live Music Capital of the World (Austin) vs. Music City (Nashville). Nashville wins because they are more modest in their assertion.
3. Someone I didn’t know called me “sweetie” during lunch on Friday
4. Everyone is super nice. Almost too nice. I had to call many people on the phone who had inquired about our school here in Nashville, and those I was able to reach were very chatty, polite, and the furthest thing from nasty and curt.
5. In LA, everyone has a headshot, and many are head cases. In Nashville, everyone is a musician or a songwriter, and they all have demos that they are shopping. That’s a bit more charming and indicative of talent versus a Glamour Shot 8 ½ x 11”.
6. They sell pulled pork sandwiches at the airport (but…so does Austin, so that’s a push).
Posted by Jason at 10:00 AM
Saturday, February 10, 2007
Now that I have found a way to unexpectedly anger my neighbors, Ford Taurus owners, and probably much of greater Boston, I’d like to revisit this blog’s original intent – stories from the road, odd business travel tales, and observations of someone who sometimes lives at bad hotels.
A surprisingly pleasant trip to Nashville this week.
I feared the worst from Southwest, having booked the PVD-BNA route, but the airline caught me off guard with its efficiency and comfortable passage.
It’s funny that the TV show Airline gave me the worst impression of Southwest.
I printed my boarding passes online – wising up from my momentary gaff on Wednesday when I forgot that I did not have an assigned seat, and the boarding groups A, B, and C are determined by check-in time. Combining that with early online check-in, and my realization of thisjust before leaving my home for the airport landed me in group B. No big deal. I queued up relatively early, since that’s the Southwest way. On the return journey, I checked-in the previous night, and snagged a group A boarding pass.
I figured this ensured a window or aisle seat regardless of where I boarded within group A, but that’s not the case. Though I did get a good aisle seat toward the front, I forgot that some Southwest flights originate elsewhere, and that many passengers from that point of origin – here being Houston Hobby – remain on the aircraft and reposition themselves within the plane before the next city’s travelers even board the flight.
I believe this is the first Southwest segment where I did not emanate from a flight’s point of origin. I have done Southwest Manchester NH-Norfolk roundtrip through Baltimore, but I connected from one plane to another each way. Also, Las Vegas to Orange County, Las Vegas to San Diego, and LAX to Las Vegas – all from origin points.
We pushed back 4 minutes early, and were in the air just 6 minutes after our scheduled 3:20 departure time. These guys really hustle – attendants are cleaning the cabin even before everyone deplanes and passengers are boarding while the sodas are still being loaded from LSG SkyChefs
Pre-printing boarding passes, not checking luggage, multiplied by two flights, probably saved me 30 minutes combined between both segments. I’m so used to printing at home but having to add a checked bag upon arrival to the airport.
Leather seats, good legroom, friendly non-jaded employees – a good experience all around!
A couple drawbacks – their coffee is no jetBlue Dunkin Donuts. And they use non-dairy creamer. Yuck!
Posted by Jason at 10:33 AM
Friday, February 09, 2007
Posted by Jason at 8:50 AM
Wednesday, February 07, 2007
Be Nice To Everyone Week continues.
I am very much itching to comment about WBCN’s HD-2 channel, but I’m going to have to wait until next week after Be Nice To Everyone Week is over.
....this Anonymous comment was waiting for me in my inbox...
"Dear Yuppie:With an attitude like that you would definitely be better off in the suburbs. You and your kind know nothing about community or tradition. I know how "inconvenienced" you were by a chair saving a parking space. And I know that in the "burbs" they don't do such things, but it has been going in Southie for decades. So if you don't like it you should just move and go back to where you came from you ignorant, rootless hipster. My family has lived in Southie for seventy years. And we are not going to change because of some scenester who writes about shitty television shows and even shittier music...come on, Pink?"
Ouch! It's so easy to be a grouch when you're "Anonymous." And, I'm not exactly the physical fighting type, so I have no interest in being baited into a suburbs vs. city fight, or a new Southie vs. old Southie battle.
But, Anonymous, since you took the time to read multiple Platinum Elite postings and compose a pretty coherent comment (all while, I'm guessing, your hatred of me was reaching a boiling point)...I'll go for a diplomatic response -
1. First off, I’ll post pretty much all comments. I find more value, however, in comments that aren’t Anonymous. In the future, should you choose to continue reading this blog (and with such ingrained hatred of me, I'm assuming you have moved on) try posting with your name. When I comment, I do.
2. Once again, I reiterate, I very much love living in Southie. And, nowhere did I suggest that I was inconvenienced by a chair saving a parking space...because I quickly learned the local rules and did the same thing. The suggestion was – literally flakes of snow cause people to freak out and start with the chairs. That makes no sense. Shoveling your spot from under 30 inches of snow. That makes sense. Bring out the chairs. And the fake ficus plants.
3. Suggesting that I know nothing about community or tradition is an insult to my family and heritage, so I won't merit that with a response. "Anonymous" knows nothing about my family roots, which are deep and extensive, and filled with tradition.
4. My intent is not to cause people to change because of a blog posting. The beauty of blogging is the ability to comment freely.
5. I'm a bit shocked to be tagged with such words "yuppie" "scenster" and "hipster," none of which are negatives in their true meanings. But if that's what I am in your mind, Anonymous, terrific - I'll take it without an iota of shame.
6. Growing communities have people from all background, and aren't simply the same folks and families living there forever. Everything needs change. I look around in Southie now and see the benefits of a growing community. Along with the traditional roots, there are new restaurants, new places to shop, new places to live, and continued a community infrastructure. When young professionals and young families move to a community, they keep the blood flowing. Southie has a pretty high rate of 20 and 30-something folk moving here and supporting the area. What better way to keep the community’s vitality for generations to come?
7. What music and television shows would you prefer I watch and enjoy. I’d be shocked if I don’t like them as well.
8. You spelled P!nk incorrectly. Don’t forget the exclamation point.
Posted by Jason at 8:41 AM
Tuesday, February 06, 2007
P!nk was, actually, great. It’s easy to group her in to the other teen pop chicks, but her sound has evolved, and most of her music from the past 5 years or so is less disposable. Even Get The Party Started was an evolution at the time, before it became a wedding staple and, therefore, as cool as The Chicken Dance.
She has an interesting legion of fans, mostly women. It’s funny that it didn’t occur to me to wear the color pink to the show (not that I have much pink in my wardrobe), because many showed up with pink shirts, pink hair, pink highlights, and pink jackets.
P!nk performed 4 songs - "Trouble," "Who Knew," "Dear Mr. President" and "Me and Bobby McGee." Between songs, the Mix DJ's interviewed her (though much of their "interviews" consisted of them waxing ecstatic about how much they loved her).
Overall, the evening was put together well, with the crowd of about 150 people consisting of many huge P!nk fans, including two women who went to 45 P!nk shows in Europe, according to P!nk herself. I haven’t been to many Mix 98.5 promos – this being the second one – but we met some of the personalities and managers during and after the show, and they seem to be a good group. I am so used to being around Clear Channel Boston folks (Kiss 108, Jam’n 94.5), that it’s nice to meet others in the local broadcasting world.
I know this isn’t a new phenomenon, but with the latest bunch of shows I have attended recently, I have noticed more and more people using their camera phones and digital cameras at shows (as of right now, I found no clips on YouTube yet).
Posted by Jason at 7:38 AM
Monday, February 05, 2007
I just listened to a guy on WBZ AM - Jon Keller - give his editorial on yesterday's Super Bowl, and it occurred to me how he came across as being cranky for the sake of being cranky - simply an old curmudgeon of a man sitting high in his ivory tower, looking down upon the populous he both disapproves of and in which he willingly participates.
Within a minute, he managed to criticize the game itself, Billy Joel’s rendition of the National Anthem (“why didn’t they get an actual singer”), and the halftime show, to which he admitted The New York Times gave rave reviews. I’m assuming John Keller isn’t a Prince fan, and giving an open mike to a non-Prince fan, allowing him to comment on the halftime show, is a bit unfair and irresponsible. The only thing he seemed to enjoy were WBZ-TV’s own ads during the local commercial avails, claiming to have a sweet spot for animals. How self-serving and pathetic.
While this was a waste of a few minutes in the otherwise well-paced morning newscast that WBZ tends to deliver, it opened my eyes to what it’s like to have to listen to a critic. Though I didn’t intend for my blog to be overly critical and snarky, I fear it treads water in that territory too often (granted, it’s more fun to hear things like “The T sucks because…” versus “I enjoyed my apple this morning, isn’t that nice”).
Therefore, this week will be my official Be Nice To Everyone Week, including to my blog readers, both those who I know personally, and those who seemed to find their ways here. Everyone gets nice Jason this week – from the subjects of my postings, to my co-workers, to my friends, to the employees at Southwest airlines who I will be forced to see later this week (I know – that part will be the most difficult of all).
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Now, time for a cocktail.
Posted by Jason at 7:59 AM
Friday, February 02, 2007
Posted by Jason at 7:44 AM
Thursday, February 01, 2007
Posted by Jason at 11:13 AM