Denver has a long history with networks in radio, television and a long tradition of newspaper publishing. The digital age and economic downturn changed all of that. Some of it was the continuation of the development of independent companies and artists who do their own thing, but as veteran songwriter Livingston Taylor once said in an interview, “independence doesn’t necessarily higher the bar.” To be sure, but in many cases the niche markets that are being reached by artists who are teaming up with entrepreneurs is working in all kinds of media from digital journalism; music, broadcasting, publishing and film-making.
Slow-cookers and fast company
From the office of “Lean financial and accountability” mentor-ship and small investments will yield the highest and most rewarding returns. “It is the slow cookers in media and culture who are reaching niche markets that are in it for the long haul,” says a veteran retired Denver newsman. “Those who start with a foundation of integrating good advertising, and I do mean quality creative, will lay a foundation that will pay for itself while launching new and fresh content that impacts the culture,” he continues, “The days of throwing and recycling money that establishes brand marketing are over, but there are too many people in the last decade who invested money, talent, and mortgages to pay for air-time and influence.” This is the same failed strategy that killed the economy and took banks and media institutions in record numbers. “I tell my students to not spend money on websites and create a winning BLOG that integrates what people want to read, listen and view. This is what it boils down to, an ad and publishing base, real simple syndication and niche markets.”
In the last century it took actors, directors, writers and composers to form a multimedia affiliation that broke up te studio system in Hollywood, on Broadway, and in recording and radio. United Artists broke the mold and affiliated independent artists by pooling money, talent, creative, production and distribution (and syndication) into one growing team of independent artists who depended on each other. Charlie Chaplin was one of the original artists in that mix. In the music industry because of the racial divide in business, a black entrepreneur in Detroit started MOTOWN. Although he owned it and built it, many great artists emerged form Barry Gordy’s vision, and each one felt the pride of ownership of the MOTOWN sound. When President Obama said the infamous “You didn’t build it,” remark it is after further review that he may have been referring to the unified approach of independence in which our country was founded.
Baseline and niches
In foundational approaches to media and culture in Denver there are baselines that need to be established. There is the economic baseline in these lean and financial times. There are great broadcasters and pod-casters, journalists and musicians who can no longer survive paying for airtime. These are the people who will have to affiliate with advertisers that produce compelling creative and integrated ads. Patti Calhoun built Westword on this premise. Talk radio hosts like Peter Boyles, Tom Martino and Dan Caplis have had to sell advertising to generate funds for airtime and income. Sponsorship for programming has morphed into affiliated advertising that is based on the web but is also now heard on local and national radio and television. A new advertising company called Sweet Spot Affiliates is producing clever copy, great production and has low overhead on Word Press is one such associate that blends banners, audio, and industry-friendly commercials.
Ranks and grins
In traditional and terrestrial media, Denver remains in the Top 20 in radio and TV surveys. In internet and social media Denver ranks in the Top 3. “Again, you are looking at a more cohesive and less algebraic equation,” says our veteran broadcaster. “It isn’t that you are reaching women 35 and up anymore to get to critical mass. It is more that the united artists of our day are reaching evangelicals; special needs populations; reaching the Front Range and targeted communities. The numbers are impressive only by adding the niche markets together, and that isn’t an equation or snapshot-it’s actuality and it’s right now.” When the right people catch that vision we can get past our past and pave a bright future for Denver media and culture.
Next week The Denver Media and Culture Examiner will begin to explore 52 Breakthrough Media and Culture ideas that are on the horizon of our skyline. The new fiscal year begins and we are about to see a time when ideas like examiner.com, blogs and digital media will give us a whole new way of reading, listening and viewing media and cultural events that we want to talk about. This is a year long study, relational and interactive launch and outreach to every part of Denver that influences the world.
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