Mike Trivisonno is a radio personality in Cleveland. He owns afternoon drive.
A few years back I did a satirical piece for a local paper on WTAM – the station he’s on. In it, I made mention of someone (not Trivisonno) fabricating an interview with a national political candidate. The actual interview was real but done in another market with different host and edited to create the semblance that it was done locally. He was outed by a sloppy edit.
I ended the commentary noting that WTAM’s signal reached 38 states and lamented that Trivisonno’s show offered an embarrassing image of Cleveland to its out-of-town listeners.
It was supposed to be a joke but he took it personally and lambasted me on the air.
Since then, he’s continued to slam me for my occasional disparaging remarks about his employer in this blog and in interviews.
By now you know from my shameless mentions that I have a book titled The Buzzard. It’s my memoir about working with a championship team. If you haven’t read it yet and you’re a fan of radio or marketing and motivation, I think you’ll like it. Did I mention that it’s in its second printing?
To promote the book I relied on traditional (old) media – radio, television, and print to get the word out - with interviews and promotions timed to maximize appearances and book signings. I couldn’t have done it without them.
I’m not saying new media was secondary. It wasn’t. My most successful appearances had traditional media connected to new media. When I was on a radio or TV station that archived the interview or when a newspaper or magazine article was also on-line – often with additional material, the adjacent appearances were the best attended.
There should be a sign in every traditional media organization that reads collaborate or die.
I received a warm welcome at and was on every Clear Channel station, including WTAM, to promote my book.
When Trivisonno learned of my interviews on WTAM and other Clear Channel stations he called me a hypocrite. His beef: I’m promoting my book on stations owned by a company I’ve slammed on many occasions.
The reality is that I’m most likely one of the best friends to anyone working the front lines at Clear Channel. I miss good, creative radio as much as they do.
Last week, Ed Ferenc, who was news director for WMMS from the mid seventies to the mid nineties, was spotted by Trivisonno while doing business at WTAM and brought him in the studio as an impromptu on-air guest. When you get two radio people in the same room, the topic always turns to what went wrong with the business. Their conclusion was the same as mine - or anyone else that knows how this business should be run.
I often wonder why the hacki di tutti hacki running the joint into the ground from San Antonio are never replaced – and then I realize that they’re not replaced because no one knows what they do. In their opinion, the golden parachute club at Clear Channel is all about having a job, which is good, as opposed to having to actually work, which is bad.
How else do you explain that the solution to their financial problems is always the same – downsize.
They’ve cut the operation to the bone, sucked out the marrow, and actually believe they can sell what’s left of the product.
What other business lets go its best salespeople because they’re too successful? They’re replaced by untrained novices who find every way possible to talk their way out of a sale.
That’s what put the old Cleveland mafia out of business. Those guys loved to talk and talk. The problem was that they talked themselves into the crowbar motel.
The success of my book is proof that radio, television, and newspapers still work. They created a buzz and motivated listeners and readers to come to signings and appearances and, most importantly, to buy books.
Radio can still sell when given the opportunity to be creative.
Few decisions are made in the radio industry that are carefully thought out beyond the present moment.
There’s radio’s real problem. Decisions made from desperation are almost always are certain to fail.
A radio station’s real worth is not the physical plant. It’s people.
Efficiency is not about running a company with fewer bodies. It’s about having the best people and allowing them to utilizing their talents and creativity to the fullest. That’s what the successful dot coms are about. That’s what most radio chains are not.
Whatever happened to mentoring?
Old media will survive only if it marries itself to new media and understands the profitability of the great convergence.
The rules may be changing but the laws of physics remain the same.
Thomas Paine said it back in the 18th Century – Lead, follow or get out of the way.