Posts Tagged ‘Tribes’

Battle between the Scythians and the Slavs (Viktor Vasnetsov, 1881)

Today is anti-bullying day.  Lots of people rocking Pink. (I wore black today cuz I am more pro space than anti-bullying, but yeah, semantics aside).  Jason and Dylan had a powerful discussion on their show this morning that would be worth your time to revisit.

I wouldn’t say I was bullied a ton in school.  I was am a skinny guy and I remember back in grade 8, my first year of middle school, being made very aware of how skinny I was.  There were some older kids that gave me a hard time and I didn’t like being in the gym change room when the football guys were there because they’d push me around.  I do remember wanting to be fat? I thought people would pick on me less if I were a giant lumbering barbarian man!  How fucked is that?  Probably didn’t help that I played a TON of Dungeons and Dragons.

The way I dealt? Fought back… once at least.  Results… hmm  mixed.  I would spend my lunch sometimes in the tech room with the other nerds in grade 8, thinking I would be clear of bullies there.  Wrong-O.  there was this alpha cowboy nerd guy that would beat on us… and my friend Rob in particular.  I got tired of it so one day I told the teacher guy and he turfed him.  He lost his lunch privileges.  After his little suspension, he came at me one time but I fought him off and all was cool.  He kind of avoided me and I him.  The older football guys… well I just avoided and they moved up to highscool at the end of the year.

I also made some friends and quick.  Got tribal.  And the tribe of choice for me were the “rockers.”  They were some “big” guys and they were into metal and rock and liked to party and there were girls around.  And when I got bothered by the “homies” it wasn’t “me” they were laying into, rather the culture and that was cool… because our culture was strong and we could give it back.

My high school was so big that by grade 11… to me at least, people didn’t worry about that stuff so much.  I am sure it mattered to most people but I had a thick skin by then and just focused on graduating and parties.

The idea of music and bullies does live on.  The music and style you listen to attracts comments, dissent and dissection.  Sometimes fun and sometimes unwanted.  Any closet country fans reading this blog?  Probably not the first thing you share when you walk into a room.  Save that dirty secret for your lover or priest or something.  Ace of Base fans?  Just kill yourself.

See, that is me being a bully.

Working on the Zone I get a LOT of phone calls from people with their opinions of the music we play.  Being a professional broadcaster, I have the confidence to listen and then not really care that you think Wintersleep’s “Black Camera” is too repetitive (mostly because I don’t think you really know why you hate the song and you picked the wrong way to articulate it).

To me, harshing on someone’s taste in music is a form of bullying.  Its a personal decision that doesn’t have to effect anyone else (well except on the Zone, we broadcast our taste to your car stereo… so please feel free to beak off if you so desire).  At the end of the day, every song we play is someone’s favourite, or it wouldn’t be on the radio.

I do try to not slam anyone’s music (except Vancityrockgirl’s obsession with Placebo… creepy).  Its not that I don’t have opinions or strong dislikes… I’d just rather focus my arguments on what are the best… instead of what is the worst.

Go with yourself.

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“And in an age of leverage, in an age where smarts and style were beating machines every time, doing what your boss said wasn’t so enticing.” – from Seth Godin’s “Tribes.”

I am hammering through ultra blogger Seth Godin’s Tribes right now.  At first I didn’t like the book too much.  Seth has a spastic style (like a blog) which is rad on the internet, not so good in a book.  But I am getting into the style now and the book has lots of great ideas.  It has a real RAGE against the machine vibe.

Basically Seth says what many of us believe to be true, we all long for the human touch.  I think it is funny that Seth writes all his blog posts for free, his book(s) is not very expensive and the man has an impressive resume of success, yet I look around my own industry and can’t understand some decisions made by the powers that be.

I am not sure when I realized I am not a very good broadcaster, but I have come to terms with the reality that I will not be a top-tier entertainer.  I am fine with that (sorta), I can deal.  I have a good job and have achieved about as much as I could have hoped for as a traditional broadcaster.  I look at my resume and go, “well, its alright.”

But then I see things go down in my industry and I scratch my head and then think, “why not me?  Why can’t I be the CEO of a multi-million dollar broadcasting company?”

I have been following the excitement of a new re-branded radio station in Vancouver that will be called inVirgin.  I am not sure about you, but when I hear the word “Virgin” I think of me, circa… pretty much most my life.  Not “cool.”  I read a lot, like a LOT marketing, broadcasting and social non-fiction and none of it would point towards the value in this re-brand.  Maybe that is what separates the powers that be from me… they have access to insight that I do not.

The crux is this.  Zed 95 was a powerful pop station in the 90s.  They abdicated their authority as a taste maker in Vancouver because they got lazy.  They tried to regain that traction by changing the station to Crave and despite some gains, have decided to abandon that branding for a generic British mega-brand that is used in Canada to sell cell phones.  Its like Telus buying a radio station and calling it Telus, actually it is more like Telus charging the Zone money to change the name of the Zone to Telus.  Kinda dumb.

Then to further erode any connection to the community of Vancouver, Ryan Seacrest is brought in to host his American Idolesque pablum and on the weekends a British Top 40 countdown program.  Why would anyone choose this station over the Beat?

Maybe because you don’t like talk in the morning?  Nope, Virgin will still have a man/woman gab and fake laugh festival every morning.

Because you are tired of the repetitive top 40 music?  Nope, Virgin will be hammering away at today’s top hits (except out of the UK).

Seth says it in his book… when you try to lead everyone, you lead no one.  That axiom has been around a long time.  This isn’t  a new thought process, so my question is: what is the benefit to 95.3 and the community?

I would think, at the very least… copy the Beat playbook.  Pull an end-around on the Beat and start talking to that base of passionate music fans that truely love dance and pop music culture.  Just like the Beat when they signed on.  Love them, super serve them, be unique.  And when the time is right, and you’ve put the Beat in the box (like the Beat to Zed) you can flip and take a run at top 40 success (knowing that the cycle will repeat).

I must be missing the knowledge, or the point.

There must be a marketing guru that I have yet to discover that says, “generic mega branding sets your product apart.”  There must be research that supports, “Vancouverites demand blander music from commercial radio!”

People tend to gravitate to ideas that reflect their own world view.  Perhaps I read marketing literature from commentators that value my values?  I would love to read the book or the blog that advocates Virgin style branding for not only radio stations in Canada and around the world, but for cola, cell phones, airlines.  I want to expand my knowledge and learn.  I want to be a GREAT broadcaster.  Maybe that is the x-factor that I am missing… maybe I need a new brand in 2009… maybe I need to be DJ Virgin @ 91-3.


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