business news in context, analysis with attitude

Got the following email from MNB reader Jeremy Couture yesterday, responding to our story about Tony Kornheiser moving his radio program from traditional radio to a podcast, which I used as a metaphor for broader competitive shifts:

I also count myself as a “Little” and a big Tony Kornheiser fan.  I’ve listened to him for years, myself, and have kept up with him even though I live in St. Louis.  I catch the one hour podcast version of his show most days on my commute home.  As a result, I have a working knowledge of DC sports and weather, which doesn’t come up too often in conversation in my local area.

From what I’ve read on his announcement, what drove his move off of radio was that his show was never a huge ratings draw, and it is somewhat costly to produce.  I remember years ago when ESPN pulled TK off of the national show, handing over the time to Colin Cowherd, whom I find odious (another subject for another day), Mr. Tony cited ratings as the issue.  TK’s loyal, but far flung and fragmented fan base would seem to align perfectly with podcasts versus terrestrial radio, which needs localized scale based on their current model.

The retailing analogy is an interesting one.  Like a local radio station, how does a bigger bricks and mortar retailer capture smaller, fragmented consumer bases (who may be very loyal) that don’t fit into a model that is built on scale and efficiency?  Many people smarter than me are predicting the death of radio for their inability to adapt to this new reality.  As you’ve been preaching, retailers must adapt or face similar consequences.

It seems to me that one of the things that companies have to do is redefine what success means ... it is still important, of course, to turn a profit ... but maybe how one gets there has to be recalculated to some degree.

Responding to the same story, MNB reader Shelley des Islets wrote:

In your Monday MNB Eye Opener, you closed with:

"And one final note ... if you're out on your bike tonight, do wear white."

I appreciate the message; my partner and I wear dayglo yellow-green vests with reflective tape when night cycling (and day cycling in traffic), and I have had a few moments as a driver where I was startled by a cyclist at night with no lights and dark clothes, and thankfully we had no incident.

But the placement in your piece caused me to wonder if you've had a recent experience that shook you up--and wish you all best.  Safety at night becomes even more critical as I age and understand why 'old people' complain about night driving and not seeing things, for they are eluding me, too, now. 

Anyway, thinking of you.

That's just incredibly kind ... but you misunderstood. (I suspect lots of other folks did, too.)

"if you're out on your bike tonight, do wear white," is how Mr. Tony closes his show each day ... it is a slight paraphrasing of a line from a Rolling Stones song.

It is sort of like Edward R. Murrow saying, "Good night and good luck." Or Jimmy Durante saying, "Good night, Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are." (Man, I'm really dating myself here.) Or Ron Burgundy saying, "Stay classy, San Diego."

Or even me, on a far smaller scale, signing off each Friday with "Slàinte!"

But I really appreciate your concern.
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