"Hootville is a one-hour, free-range talkfest. The show mixes politics and religion but rarely mentions sport. There's a fair swag of pop culture, corporate thinking and the odd Rant on Demand and poem."
I'm not much for the poetry, but the rest is pretty cool. Brett is an intelligent, witty and- these days- fully clothed presenter, who dishes up a lively 57 minutes or so of radio each week.
Here's the feed: http://www.hootville.com.au/Hootville.xml
The rise of the Internet has made life tough for the publishers of "adult" magazines- or so I've heard. But it makes sense, with a stack of soft and not-so-soft porn freely available on the web, I often wonder why people still buy it in printed form at all.
But obviously I am not a media expert, and the media readership figures released this week prove just how much I know, because sales of adult magazines are on the rise (so to speak).
Sales of the local version of Penthouse jumped by 18.9% to an average of 53 026 a month. It must be the quality of the articles. Another adult title, Australian Hustler is also doing well, with its sales up 1.1%. Although I believe Hustler isn't as big on the editorial side.
Of course the doyen of adult magazines, Playboy, quit the Australian scene years ago.
I wonder why this is so. Most magazines and newspapers are in a tailspin of readership decline, as we turn to the internet and RSS feeds to keep ourselves informed &.. ahem.. entertained.
If anyone wants to conduct some research and tell me just what is so good about these magazines that they are experiencing industry defying increases in readership, I'd be happy to report your findings.
(I might regret that offer...we'll see)
So when is exclusive, exclusive?
Sydney high fliers who are feeling a bit cut off or marginalised now have a publication just for them, a magazine that wears its dollar signs on its sleeve. It's called 100k+ and is created for people who want more – or so says the blurb.
The mag equips the modern-day arriviste for aspirational living with articles on personalised concierge services (very handy when you're working those 50-hour weeks), how to drink whiskey and where to get that MBA. But, according to some folks who have seen it, half of the magazine is dedicated to its real purpose – and the big advertising bucks – senior executive jobs that start at, you guessed it, $100K+.
So, where do you reckon you can you pick up the little mag that aims high? Well, 100K+ is available at 250 select Sydney newsagents for , wait for it, just $4.95! Or if that seems just a little too haphazard, you can take out the 12-month $100 Platinum Career Investment subscription.
But here is the funny bit. Proving that exclusivity ain't what it used to be, if you're in the right place at the right time – namely, one of Sydney's 500 best cafes, car washes and gyms – you can pick it up for free...
(And it could only happen in Sydney!)
So Last night Ten took a big-time shot at news and current affairs with its exclusive Douglas Wood interview.
I didn't watch it. And most people I spoke to today didn't see it either. And according to several reports today, lots of other viewers were as equally nonplussed, preferring both Nine's Backyard Blitz and Seven's Guinness Book of Records to the much hyped Wood special.
Third in a three-horse race between the commercial networks is an ordinary result at the best of times, but especially when you've paid something like $400,000 for the privilege. So what went wrong?
It's pretty simple really, in attempting to position itself as a big time player in news and current affairs, Ten strayed too far away from what it stands for its key brand message if you like; the youth demographic, 16-24 year olds. Tens core competency is doing things like Big Brother, Australian Idol, The Simpsons, The OC, and similar programs. Not news.
And as I said last week, scheduling the program on a Sunday night in between The Simpsons and Big Brother was just dumb.
So what did we learn from the Wood interview?
"There were lots of tears, but not much about why Wood was in Iraq, why he'd been apart from his wife for two years, and why he felt it necessary to go to such a dangerous place to make money in his early 60s. Nor were there questions about whether he'd placed himself in danger by going to Iraq, and whether any of his work in Iraq had increased the risk. Wood also displayed a lack of understanding as to why some Australians would object to his taking Ten's money after the $3 million the Australian government had spent on his recovery. His brothers and wife seemed far more empathetic people. They provided plenty of tears, as did Doug when his grandchildren appeared. So Ten and Sandra Sully can at least rest easy on that score: they achieved the goal of all current affairs efforts – to get on-camera emotion from the main talent. But the interview aroused limited sympathy for Wood, at least for this viewer. It was disappointing that he didn't thank the Australian people and the special also felt strangely out of date – it really should have gone to air last Tuesday or Wednesday night."
From that and other reports, it seems as though the Ten questions showed little evidence of research and it's disappointing that there's no transcript available on the Ten website.
It would seem as though Ten blew their $400K, but if anyone did see it and has a different opinion... well you know where to find the comments section
Of all the stale, rusty old traditions that are
part of a daily newspaper, perhaps none look as "worn around the edges" as the
editorial and op-ed pages.
There is hardly a paper on the face of the earth that doesn't follow the same old formula, you know the one, unsigned editorials that speak in the newspaper's "institutional voice"; a cartoon or two; letters to the editor; and, on the right-hand page, signed pieces by the paper's staff columnists and from a few syndicated services. Even the design of these pages is virtually the same from paper to paper....
Well, it's time to "eliminate the editorial page," according to Timothy Noah on Slate.com. He says that editorials aren't expressions of a papers voice because they are produced by a team of writers. Nor does the editorial page represent the opinions of the papers owner- in the US for example, the Tribune Company might have one opinion in its flagship, the Chicago Tribune, and the opposite in its subsidiary, the LA Times. What's more, the genre has "built in defects." It lacks sufficient length to make a convincing arguement, instead settling for a boring "timidity" or irresponsible "posturing." So the opinion page- usually found opposite- is a "thousand times more compelling." These longer articles display the "quirky intelligence" that comes from a single persons opinion.
The opinion editor could always weigh in with a special editorial several times a yeay and "it's meare appearance would be something of an occasion." But this probably won't happen soon, because editorial page editors would have to eliminate their own jobs. And if a publisher tried, they'd be accused of doing it "to dumb down the nespaper".
It's a compelling arguement, but the real reason to dump the page is because nobody wants to read editorials anyway. I would much rather read "democratised content" that is available via weblogs andcomments sections whereby people can weigh in with their opinions, corrections, reactions and long-winded, angry ramblings.
On Monday I posted about freed Iraqi hostage Douglas Wood and his big-buck, $400 000 deal with the Ten Network.
It seems that quite a few people have rasied their eyebrows at the whole deal. Wood's decision to sell his story to the Ten Network is "grubby and poor journalism," David Marr told ABC Radio National this morning. As Glenn Dyer explains via Crikey, Wood's deal with Ten has completely re-written the rules of chequebook journalism:
"The deal is a "co-production," which means greater control lies in the hands of the talent and not the media outlet. If it becomes the norm, it will mean audiences will have less chance of obtaining an independent and explainable version of these stories.
Unlike similar stories on 60 Minutes, Today Tonight or Four Corners, this not independent in any way - it's no more than an officially sanctioned version of the story.
The Australian and The SMH missed the point on Tuesday, but The Age had most of the important detail, including the involvement of Steve Vizard, a part-owner of Wood's management company Profile Talent Management. Vizard, who was known in the 1990s for "clipping the ticket" across a wide range of arts industry deals, is clearly back in the game. Industrial barrister Mark Klemens, the front man for the agency, is Molly Meldrum's manager and was the beak who got Darryl Somers off a drink driving charge three years ago.
Nine's 60 Minutes apparently had the deal all but in the bag until the Ten co-production idea and more money surfaced. The Age and TV sources say the Ten bid was around $400,000, but the co-production arrangement makes that difficult to work out. Because of revenue sharing deals from any on-sales, Ten could have bid low and offered PTM a bigger share of revenues at the back end from any on-sales, say to the US, which is interested in the story because Wood lives in California."
Without doubt Ten and Douglas Wood have blown a big hole in the comfortable world of chequebook journalism.
I was reading a great conversation over at The Social Customer Manifesto (thanks Johnnie) about whether it is reasonable for marketers to "lie" to customers. The conversation is centered around the content of Seth Godin's new book All Marketer's Are Liars, and in particular this:
"Tell a story that is memorable and remarkable and worth listening to. Seduce your customers, because that’s exactly what they want you to do. That requires ruthless selectivity and creative storytelling—in other words, lying."
Health and beauty product manufacturers are amongst the most prolific "tellers of tales" that are, if nothing else, "remarkable." In their continual race to be better than the rest, they advertise relentlessly and are forever updating their products and telling us new stories that con us into believing that we can be better, younger or fresher looking. They will make our skin softer and our hair shinier. They tell us they have "the stuff" that contains "ingredient X" that will make us more relaxed, more alert, more energetic as well as increasing our sexual potency.
But in playing this game of manipulation, global shaving giant Gillette has come unstuck.
The Boston based company launched its M3Power razor early last year. They told us that it was "a revolutionary powered wet shaving system for men," that delivered the world's best shave. The trick was in the breakthrough razor technology that delivered gentle pulses that stimulated hair upwards and away from the skin. I remember when it was launched in Australia, excited Gillette marketers hooked up with Sir Richard Bran son to have the Mach3Power livery adoring one of his Virgin Blue Jets..
But this week, a US federal judge rule that Gillette's claims about its new razor were "unsubstantiated and inaccurate," its advertising "greatly exaggerated" and "literally false".
(I thought all advertising was "greatly exaggerated" and "literally false")
As a result of this ruling, Gillette was ordered to change packaging and advertising for the product and remove in-store displays featuring the false claims.
It will be interesting to see if Gillette in Australia- which is a separate entity- follows.
So whilst All Marketers might Be Liars, it is good to see some of them getting caught. It will be interesting to see what kind of precedent this decision sets.
My bet is that marketers, advertisers and companies will thumb their noses at the decision, and that the practice of deceiving customers about the performance of products will continue unabated.
Poor Rusty Crowe. He's been coping it a bit after engaging in a bit of a fracas with a hotel staff member on Tuesday.
I mean what's a bloke expected to do in the wee hours of the morning in a hotel a long way from home when the concierge is giving him the sort of attitude a celebrity shouldn't have to take? If you're a gladiator and you're holding a telephone, the solution is obvious.... you turf it at their head....
And whilst the UK Sun gave the tale the full tabloid treatment, complete with hilarious graphic recreations you can see here, the front of today's Daily Telegraph had a completely different angle thanks to reporter Matt Frilingos:
"Stretched on the couch watching TV, on the verge of drifting off to sleep, the last thing I expected late on Tuesday night was a call from Russell Crowe," is how Frilingos starts this backgrounder today.
That phone call, which proves that some hotel phones do work, led to this front-page story in today's Tele, (and you've gotta love the headline!):
HOW MY BRAIN SNAPPED
EXCLUSIVE by MATT FRILINGOS
Shattered actor Russell Crowe has bared his soul to The Daily Telegraph, saying the violent incident that could see him jailed was entirely his fault.
In an exclusive interview, Crowe spoke of his shame over the altercation, but insisted he was "not aiming at" concierge Nestor Estrada when he threw a telephone in the lobby of an exclusive New York hotel. He conceded that the incident may not only see him locked away in a New York jail, but could prevent him from ever working in the US again.
He blamed his state of mind on "the combination of jet lag, loneliness and adrenalin," having just returned to the US after a flying visit to London for the Kostya Tsyzu fight, without wife Danielle. "I'm at the bottom of a well. I can't communicate how dark my life is right now," Crowe said. "I'm in a lot of trouble. I'll do my best to solve the situation in an honourable way. I'm very sorry for my actions."
Earlier in the week I promised to tell you what I thought of new Aussie mag The Monthly, which according to it's publisher will fill the space that the New Yorker' or Atlantic Monthly might fill in the States.
I have never read either of those, but The Monthly was a bit disappointing. For a start, after having a quick flick through it, I was surprised at the crude, cheap looking layout. I almost just chucked it straight onto the coffee table, ready to be put out with the thirteen supplements that come with the Saturday Age.
But back to The Monthly. The articles (well essays really) are pretty good, once you remember that Aussie writers sometime become a mistake throughtfulness and seriousness with being over tedious. That aside, you can expect lengthy, generally well written articles by Margaret Simons on the ABC, John Birmingham on his home town of Ipswich, John Harms on 1950 Stawell Gift winner Ken Trewick, an piece by one of my favorites Don Watson on how country towns have changed,as well as contributions by Tim Lane, Helen Garner, Robert Forster and others.
They all combine to make The Monthly a reasonably good read. It is just that it looks really crap. I know that mags like this don't need to offer a graphic experience, but this is 2005 and I would expect a bit more sophistication. One thing I still don't get is the cover image. Now isn't it standard practice that the image on the cover is somehow linked to the a story, usually the cover story? Most magazines I know use the cover to illustrate a theme or central point in the story.
But not with The Monthly. Strange. I am at a loss as to why you would want an ordinary photo take up the whole cover of your first edition that adds nothing to anything inside..
Anyway, I'll pick it up again next month.
(If anyone else has any thoughts on the first Monthly, I'd love to hear them)