Sound & fury over A.J.'s Media Queen rant (Cont.)

                                                                                                    Dec. 5, 2003
Dear Editor:
   Re:  "Yo, planner, learn some manners"?
    Can you please send this to all our clients? 
   I would love to forward this to them myself but would prefer to avoid a confrontation with potential 2004 spenders. (Please do not use my name.)

                                                                                                    Dec. 4, 2003
Dear Editor:
   I don't usually do this; however, something in A.J. Livsey article just seemed very short to me. 
   I am a media planner/buyer in San Antonio and have been one for the past 23 years. I am experienced in both the good and the bad in this business. However, everybody deserves common courtesy.
   In my current position, which I have held for the past 14 years, I have learned a lot from my "partners" in the media world. 
  Granted there have been times that I could not meet with a "just dropped in to see you" sales person because of workload; but I can't remember one time when I did not learn something from a planned meeting with a sales person.
   The business has changed over the years, since your staff writer was only in the business a short time, maybe she did not adjust well to being a media planner. It does take a special person to handle this job.
   I operate our department on the philosophy that my mother taught me "You get more flies with honey" and the golden rule - "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." 
   It sure makes the day brighter and you just might learn something.

Debbie Hamilton
The PM Group
San Antonio

                                                                              Nov. 24, 2003

Dear Editor:
Amen to this...You get what you give.

Linda DiLembo
Media Planner/Buyer
Grady Britton
Portland, Oregon

                                                                              Nov. 24, 2003

Dear Editor:
   First off, GREAT ARTICLES. I have been a long time fan and reader of the Media Life website, but this will be my first time commenting. I think the elements that have been discussed in this series of articles has both been funny and interesting and would like to add my comments.
   I am a former Media Planner/Supervisor, that went to the Client side and who also grew up on the business (father was in advertising). I would love to share some comments for both the Sales Community and the Media Planning community.

     Understand your role in the greater scheme of things:
     Just because you are working on Clinet X with a Male 18-49 target does not mean that within a weeks time, you will not be working on a piece of business that exclusively targets females because another planner decided to move on to new opportunities. Media Planning is one of the most fluid facets of the Advertising business, with high levels of staff turnover, internal account rotations, and Client assignments. Your job is to understand the publications that are appropriate for your Client, but it is naive if you think that you should not learn about other publications. When the head of your department schedules a meeting with a Publisher to have their staff come in and present something, don't blow off the meeting because "you wouldn't put this publication on the plan anyway." If your director thought it was important enough to have these people come in, then go to the meeting and hear what they have to say. You may be talking to the sales rep next month for a new business pitch or on your next account.
   Maintain good ethical standards:
  Just because reps are willing to give you things, does not mean that you should be taking it. I was a Planner during the dot com boom, working on a Client with a $20 Million print budget and a target wide enough to run in publications ranging from Individual Investor to People. During the planning process, every rep was offering up gifts, lunches, dinners, tickets, and anything else they could think of to help differentiate themselves. That's pretty exciting for a 25 year old Media Supervisor, but we did the right thing. We told all the Sales reps that we would not accept anything, nor schedule any lunches until we recommended and approved a plan. BE FAIR WITH THE SALES COMMUNITY. DO NOT ACCEPT ANYTHING UNLESS YOU ARE DOING BUSINESS WITH THEM. They have a lot of Clients that their efforts will better be focused on, so if you know that they are not going to make the cut, then don't take them up on their offers. Sure, it's a thin ethical line, but try to do the right thing - Sales reps will appreciate it and it will benefit you down the line.
   Dedicate Time to Communicate with the Sales Community.
  Sure, the business moves a mile a minute, but your team needs to work on a time management structure that provides time to meet with reps during slower periods of the year, so that you are not inundated when planning comes around. Obviously this is easier said than done, but work with your team to come up with a system that works because you will need to demonstrate the ability to manage people, relationships, and time to propel yourself to the next level. Never cancel on a rep when they are waiting out in the lobby. Sure, things come up during the day, but you need to make sure that you can take your meetings (schedule them in the early AM or during slow points in the day if things continually come up during your days).
  Think of the Sales Community as a Partner: 
   The objective is to get the Client the best deal package possible. This does not happen overnight by writing an RFP and demading the best possible rates and positioning. Chances are the covers and TOC are taken by long-term advertisers anyway, so see what they can bring you that is synergistic with your Client's plan objectives. Most of the time, the rush to get a response from an RFP is dictated by the need to secure planning rates, so just ask the rep for exactly what you need in the short-term and let them continue to develop ideas - your Client will appreciate well thought out ideas and you will build relationships with the Sales reps. Don't doubt for a second that they will be a tremendous help for you when you decide that you need to move on to another opportunity (and you all know that is coming sooner than later).

Stop Hiding Behind Syndicated Research:
   MRI data is only going to tell you half the story. Understand the publication and how it may fit into you overall plan. If it doesn't make sense from a strategic/editorial perspective, then tell them that. When you get yourself into "the numbers," the rep has no other choice but to show you how the numbers work in their advantage. You know that the numbers can be manipulated to prove the story that you want it to, so don't use them as a shield when providing feedback to the rep. If the numbers of the publication were not right, they would have never been invited to pitch the business in the first place. (You can use MRI data to send away the cold callers). If a pub submitted an RFP, then you should provide feedback so your rep can explain things to his bosses (you are not the only one that has someone to answer to).

     My advice is simple: Appreciate the Cyclical Nature of the Business
   Your time is better served meeting with the whole team and not a one-on-one with an Assistant Media Planner that just graduated from college. Sure, there are meeting quotas that you all have to meet, but there is a difference between quantity of meetings and quality of meetings. 
    Work with your director/publisher (whoever you have to show your schedule to) to come up with a weighted quota system, where a meeting with a whole planning team is worth more than a one-on-one meeting with someone that is likely not to know the answers you are trying to get or be off the business within 6 months. Your job is to service the Client and this is better served by developing a relationship with the overall team rather than an individual (more continuity on an aggreate level).
   Add Value for the Agency
   Make sure that you know their Client's business. Provide the Agency with interesting articles about their Client that will help them stay on top of their business. Not only will this help them, but it will also demonstrate that you are looking out for their interests and keeping current with what is going on in the world that you are calling on. Don't ask for a meeting unless you have something new and relevant to present.
  Use research as support.
   If you want planners to understand your publication, then keep the numbers in the appendix of the presentation. First of all, Media people are sensitive about their time, so get straight to the point. Also, you know your audience is likely to be overworked and tired. If you get into numbers, you are going to lose them because it is something that they should already know and let's be honest, it is not exactly exciting and attention grabbing. Include it in the leave behind and as a reference for the meeting. A good planner (or one that needs to know) will ask you the questions that your research proves/disproves.
   Understand your Audience.
   Determine how the planner prefers to communicate and work within that preference. If they are a phone person, call them, if they prefer e-mail, send them a note, but pick one and don't follow-up your calls with e-mails or vice versa -- it runs the risk of annoying them and will not help your chances of getting a response.
   Guide the Ethics of Favor Provision
   This gets back to the grey line discussed earlier. Sure, you are going to do whatever you can to differentiate your publication, but the truth is that the Sales community is more culpable for the state of the business today. If Sales people offer things up tickets, lunches, etc. to prospective business, then you are opening yourself up to requests for more things down the line and is that going to help you chances to get on the plan -- probably not.
  Remember, the majority of planners in the business can barely pay their rent (especially in NYC), so who can fault them for accepting things. Start weaning off from giving things to Clients that you are not doing business with, unless it builds the equity of your publication and helps your chances (parties, events, etc). An outing to a Yankee game does nothing to help your chances if you are a rep at Better Homes and Gardens. Save this stuff to build relationships with a team that you have existing business with to help better understand the needs of the Client. Otherwise, you are going to become a ticket broker.

Marc Hanson
New York

                                                                                       Nov. 24, 2003

Dear Editor:
  All is forgiven. 
   I applaud A.J. for revisiting this topic from a sales perspective.
   She's proven in both articles that she's an incredibly talented writer.
  She's proven in the article titled 'yo planner, learn some manners' that she's wise beyond her years.

Marcy Kettler-Thibault
Account Executive

                                                                                                 Nov. 20, 2003

Dear Editor:
   Can't we all just get along.
   Like everything in this world nothing is black and white. A.J. has some tremendous points but nothing is ever that one sided.
("Please, rep, don't waste my time")  
I have worked with a number of sales "Partners" over the years. If you call them "Rep-tiles" that is exactly what you will get.
  I would like to acknowledge the best part about being partners with sales reps. No, it's not lunches and SWAG. It's learning more about how to do our jobs better. Our job is to make sure the client’s goals are reached.
  Is there a new development, opportunity or product we don’t know about? 
   Let the sales professionals tell us, but please also tie it back to our client’s needs. It’s building the better mousetrap. Can we make a printed page or a billboard reach someone 10 different ways. Integrating executions so each medium is doing its job. We have to tell the sales people what that job is. It's about being able to ask if they can do something they have never done before and working through the problems versus throwing our arms up and calling it a day.
  Set the bar wherever you want. Sales partner to Rep-tile. Communicate your goals and objective. Lay down clear ground rules of how you need the planning process to happen. That’s what it takes. Let's try and get there.
  Your site has always been about education and information.

Kristofer Chun
Media strategy consultant
Kala Media
Los Angeles

                                                                                              Nov. 20, 2003
Dear Editor:

   It is no wonder people on both sides of the desk were offended by the
("Please, rep, don't waste my time") article. 
   What if you published an article by a 26-year-old salesperson telling buyers and planners how to do their jobs?
  Following A.J.'s instruction, a sales rep would find themselves out of a job in six months. The buyer-seller relationship should be symbiotic rather than adversarial.

Hardy Johnson
General Motors R*Works

                                                                                              Nov. 20, 2003
Dear Editor:

 GREAT story. 
  Thanks, A.J., for having the guts to speak your mind and get the industry talking. The industry needs to talk. 
   It's a bit naive for sales people to think we don't communicate with our clients. On a separate note, I thought rookies were only considered such in their first year? You think sales people think they are rookies after five years? Probably not.
Great writing. It got our department talking!

Amy E. Baker
Media Manager

                                                                                              Nov. 20, 2003
Dear Editor:

  Although there are some valid points regarding A.J.'s article, I would have had more respect for her thoughts had she been on the other side of the desk at some point.
  I have been on both sides, first as a client and then as a rep, and I have to say it's a bit easier to criticize the sales people when you have what they are looking to obtain.
  I used to die when I would answer the phone and it would be a rep, as I knew that I would either lose about 15 minutes of my day right there, or would be forced to be rude to get off the phone.
  As a client you are not paid by the amount of rep calls you accept, and being nice to reps does not appear on the review sheet at the end of the year when raises are being considered.
   However, now that I have been on the sales side for about seven years, I can honestly say that I had no idea what went into the job of a print sales rep. You are forced to call, cajole and beg at times for meetings, business, and sometimes even to be treated with the respect that any human being deserves.
   About 80 percent of the clients are wonderful and easy to work with, but the 20 percent that are not can and do drive many people out of the business. 
  My point is, just give these guys a break. Some of them are new to the business, lack self confidence, or are merely intimidated by the fact that you have no interest in talking or meeting with them. 
  They are trying to get their job done just like you are. Yes, they should be more prepared, but if you are booking the call with them, you should also be willing to give them the respect that they deserve as a human being and fellow advertising community member and listen to what they have to say. You just might hear something that will help you do a better job for your client.

Susan Wallingford
Corporate Sales Director

                                                                                              Nov. 20, 2003
Dear Editor:

 I started reading A.J. Livsey’s article, ("Please, rep, don't waste my time")  with the same approach that I take to most articles that are written from the buyer’s point of view-- curiosity--and hope that in it I might glean something interesting about why our industry has become so adversarial.
  Why indeed. Do most media planners really think this way? Do they rant and make sweeping generalizations about sales reps?
  I have one question. Who in the heck was calling on you? “One in 10 magazine sales reps really know his or her business.” Are you kidding? Anyone who ever called on A.J. Livsey should do the rest of the industry a favor and quit now!
   I, too, believe that advertising is a business of communication. But for every rep without a clue, there are 10 fresh-from-graduation media planners who are over-worked, under-paid and drowning in a sea of senior-level decision making that is beyond their three weeks of training.
   Pleasant to work with? Sales reps eat crow every day, listening to the most inane and free-form reasoning on a daily basis. If the media properties aren’t communicating properly with the media planners, it may have something to do with the attitude of the writer: ‘There’s nothing you can tell me that I don’t already know.’
  Here are some don’ts for you:
  1. With regard to time-wasters: Don’t send a request for proposal - with a two-day turnaround that asks for a laundry list of “Big Ideas” (which you have no intention of buying with your client’s reduced budget). 
   And please don’t ask us to “create something that best personifies your magazine.” Why oh why does a rep need a glue gun and a Masters degree in fine arts? It’s a waste of time and money and does nothing to demonstrate the power of the brand that we’re selling.
2. Don’t categorize magazines to make your media planning simpler. If you’re targeting women (or men), look at ALL magazines that most effectively and powerfully reach that audience. 
  Don’t approach your plan with a “one deep in each category” mantra. “Oh, we’re not looking at travel-beauty-epicurean-shelter-fashion-health-lifestyle” (we’ve all heard it). Even if the readers in those forbidden categories actually are the target audience? Interesting.
3. Respect, you say? Respect our relationship with your client. We know your client. We were calling on your client before you got your job and they will still be our client long after you’ve rotated to another account or left media planning to write for Media Life.
  If you actually want us to believe that all good ideas will be championed by our media contacts, you’re crazy. We go to the client because, more often than not, great ideas are “shot down” (A.J.’s words) by the agency because you’re too busy to change your flow chart.
  Furthermore, it’s mutual respect, baby. Don’t treat us like petulant children. If you invited us to pitch a piece of business and we didn’t make the plan, we want to know why. Most sales people want to know that they’ve done everything possible to win an account. When you don’t win a piece of business that absolutely should be in your pages, you can’t sleep until you find out why.
  And tell us the truth. Smoke screen answers are so obvious.
4. Don’t make reference to a long-forgotten time that you weren’t even a part of. The reference to ex-football player publishers who practiced wacky macho jock stuff at three-martini lunches filled with empty bragging was ridiculous. “It’s a different marketplace now. There are lots of women in it, and more and more at the top”….yeah, since 1983 when the esteemed writer was 6.
  Did you actually ever meet an ex-football player publisher? Or have a three-martini lunch? Neither have I or anyone else I know and I’ve been in magazine advertising sales for 16 years.
5. Don’t paint an entire industry with the same brush. All sales people are not imbeciles and all media planners do not universally hate us. Some of us actually understand our job--to help your client move product so that we all look good.
   Look, we all thought we knew everything when we started our first jobs at 21. Clearly, A.J. Livsey’s notes on the dos and don’ts of advertising sales were written during the ripe years of 21- 26.
  Reread your diatribe in about 10 years and I’m sure you’ll have a red face about it.
P.S. And by the way some magazines actually are No. 1. By any measurement.

Kate Dixon
Midwest Director
Miller Dixon Media

                                                                                                     Nov. 18, 2003
Dear Editor:
 I thought that A.J.'s article ("Please, rep, don't waste my time") was well written and very accurate. She brought up many good points about the information and qualities that media planners/buyers look for in reps.
    I don't think that her age is a valid reason for some of the readers to be upset. With her almost five years of media planning experience, it appears that she is very knowledgeable on media planning and that she made her clients' goals a priority. I think that the readers should be more focused on her knowledge and experience than her age.
  Perhaps Media Life Magazine should ask someone on their staff (or someone in sales who is a knowledgeable sales rep) to write a similar column about buyers and planners.

Marlene Kruelle
Broadcast & Online Media Consultant

                                                                                                 Nov. 18, 2003
Dear Editor:

   Let me just start by saying that the feedback regarding this article was forwarded to me by my beloved media director. His point: to remind us that media sellers are part of the cycle. And I can't agree with him more.
"Let me be blunt here." I'm an assistant media planner that's only been in this business for 2 years. In the two years that I have worked on various media on various accounts. This doesn't make me an expert in any way, and this doesn't make my opinion more or less valid than any one else in advertising.
    Here is what I think really needs to be said, at least as my own representative, to media sellers: Thank you for every outlandish effort you've put forth, not just for the client, but for also for me. And maybe you're not doing it for me, but you're doing it. You're making the impossible work so I don't have to say no to the client. So, thank you.
  Don't get me wrong. I have met some people that aren't very skilled as media sellers, but I can say the exact same statement in regards to media planners and buyers. We're all human, and we weren't all born to sell media.
And a quick comment to A.J. : I've had frustration with media sellers, but don't think for a second that media sellers don't have day to day frustration with media planners or buyers. I know I've bugged the hell out of them and had some freakishly inconceivable requests on behalf of my client.
   But thank you, A.J., for your opinion. We all have them.

Melissa Pongpitoon
Assistant Media Planner
Irvine, Calif.

                                                                                                   Nov. 18, 2003
Dear Editor:

   Sometimes the truth hurts! 
   As a salesperson I can say, no one in our community should be shocked or surprised by anything A.J. wrote. A little more thought and preparation would do everybody a little good -- on both sides of the desk.
   In the interest of fairness and equal time, A.J. should do a piece on some of the more irritating media planning idiosyncrasies. That too would be a "lively" conversation.
   A.J. is indeed a little smart-assy, but I thought it was a good piece.

David O'Connell

                                                                                                   Nov. 18, 2003
Dear Editor:
   I loved her article and forwarded it to all of my media buying pals!!

Teresa Knight McMenamin
Warner Advertising Group
Burbank, Calif.

                                                                                                   Nov. 18, 2003
Dear Editor:

Well, the good news is that we, media planners, are reading your email blast daily. 
  Unfortunately, I think that A.J.'s story was taken out of context. Agreed that she may have been too "hard" in generalizing all magazine sales representatives because on the whole most are very good, but some of what she said is very true.
   Good sales reps can be instrumental in the success of a media plan and make sure that your ad program gets good placement, great value added and the best rates possible for your client. 
   The multitude of phone calls and plans media planners receive is part of the game, but there some sales representatives that can put a downer on your day.
   Some are not very knowledgeable, some do go behind your back to the client and some don't know when to stop pitching, but that I doubt will ever change.
   Media buyers and planners are there to siphon through the clutter for the client. 
    That's our job, and it can be hard at times, but when you meet that gem of a sales representative that makes you look like a goddess/god to the client it's worth a 1,000 bad sales reps.

Dana Wright
Burgundy Group

                                                                                                   Nov. 18, 2003
Dear Editor:

There are good sales reps and bad sales reps just like there are good planners and bad planners. I’m sure both sides could write many lengthy articles on all the bad practices out there. Maybe we should focus on “the best practices” for both sides and actually do something to improve the relationships.

Gwen Conley
Director of Integrated Marketing
Los Angeles

                                                                                                   Nov. 18, 2003
Dear Editor:

   I met A.J. about a year or so ago and I remember enjoying her scorching sense of humor.
    Clearly, she still has it. While I think her article "Please, rep, don't waste my time" was well written, she may have gotten a little too clever.
   Having been on both sides of the desk (sales assistant briefly and media planning for 15 years), I know that there are good and bad apples on both sides. I was not a good sales assistant because I didn't understand what I needed to know (and I didn't like taking no for an answer); but that is the nature of being new to most businesses. Many people stay in the business without ever realizing what it is that makes a good sales or media person, and sadly, many don't care.
   Knowing a client's business and name is not too much to ask, especially if there is some incentive (aka income/commission/ sense of accomplishment, etc.) involved. There are a few gems out there, but I agree with A.J. that they are not in the majority.
  Overall A.J.'s views are a little too tongue in cheek (or is it hostile?) for most people (especially those not gifted with a sense of humor), but she's not entirely wrong.
   As for rule #5, not everyone merits respect, and despite what people believe, quite often they don't have the authority they like to claim. 
    Many people getting into the business today have an extremely inflated sense of entitlement, despite being hired as low man on the totem pole. Respect is earned and authority is not automatic. All slates are clear when I first meet with someone (a rep), but if he/she isn't prepared for the meeting, unless there are extreme circumstances, then it's strike one. After two strikes, I generally will take it up with management so that when/if they don't get the business they will know why.
   Lastly, I believe that A.J.'s rules should include being considerate. Consideration includes honesty, hard work and respecting other's time and effort (including returning all phone calls, which I insist my people do). Basically, when all is said and done, doesn't it all come down to the "Golden Rule"?

Hillary Ryland
Media Planning Director
RJ Palmer

                                                                                                   Nov. 18, 2003
Dear Editor:

I try to read Media Life every morning, but I missed Monday, which means I didn't get to read A.J. Livsey's apparently inflammatory commentary on magazine sales reps.
    But I did read Gene Ely's this morning ("
Rebutting A.J.: Rant of a Media Queen") and was curious. Based on the quotes in Gene's piece from some angry sales people, I figured A.J. must be another untenured, snot-nosed, wet-behind-the-ears kid who didn't have a clue about the media business. 
   I should mention I'm a 36-year seasoned media veteran who has worked at major NYC agencies and buying services and that I have a curmudgeon box I use to deliver rants on many topics. So, I was ready to tear A.J. a new one. And I read her commentary.
   Absolutely on the money.
    Everything stated was correct. My feeling is those who have found fault with A.J. are guilty of the offenses stated in her commentary.
   The article was very well written, with just the right mix of sarcasm and irony. 
  More to the point, I didn't detect a hint of disrespect in the tone or intent. Actually, the thoughtful observations and comments read like it was written by someone with more years than A.J.

   So, as they say, "Power to yer arm!" and "Good on ya." Keep up the good work.

John Maher
Associate Media Director

FCB Southern California

                                                                                                   Nov. 18, 2003
Dear Editor:

     I didn't get a chance to read A.J.'s article yesterday so I read your rebuttal first ("Rebutting A.J.: Rant of a Media Queen")
  I expected to find a vicious attack with unfounded accusations against media reps when I finally did read A.J.'s article.
   What I found was a truthful account of what really happens more often than not in the world of print rep sales calls.
    It's also a sad truth that the most of the vociferous protests probably came from the very offenders themselves.
   Bravo A.J.! 
   By the way, I am not 26 and have been buying every media type for major accounts for 30 years. It took A.J. only four years to learn the truth.
    No wonder she left media planning.

Colleen O'Kane
EVP, Corporate Media Director
Columbus, Ohio

                                                                                                   Nov. 18, 2003
Dear Editor:

   I enjoyed A.J.'s story, but have to say I was leery of her opinions since she did state her age at the beginning. 
   She may be young and only slightly less jaded than the rest of us but even those seasoned sellers have to admit she hit the nail on the head more than once.
   Since everyone is so up-in-arms about it, why not invite a sales rep to submit a "guest" article as a rebuttal? 
   That would be funny. It would be even funnier if you could find a sales rep with only five years experience who is the same age. Bet you can't find one, since most of the media giants out there burn through these poor kids like kindling.

Stacey Taylor
Media Director
Bradham-Hamilton Advertising

                                                                                                   Nov. 18, 2003
Dear Editor:

   Please know, and pass this along to A.J., that I LOVED LOVED LOVED the piece. 
   It was so dead on for both print and TV and radio that I was jealous.  I wish I had written that article. It was accurate!!

Andrew Ettinger
Media Supervisor
EarthQuake Media
New York

                                                                                                   Nov. 18, 2003
Dear Editor:

    Great article. You could have substituted “Radio Rep” for “Magazine Rep” and would have described our daily interactions perfectly! 
Our company specializes in creating and placing recruitment advertising for clients on radio, TV and cable.  I can’t tell you the number of “Special Recruitment Packages” we get every week that have everything to do with stations unloading trash inventory and nothing to do with targeted schedules that benefit our clients.  
   Keep up the good writing!  

John Mitton

                                                                                                    Nov. 17, 2003
Dear Editor:

   I just wanted to say thanks for the article. 
    A.J. Livsey makes some great points.  I wish this article could be sent to reps in all mediums.  
   There is nothing that bothers advertising media professionals more than reps who don't know who they're pitching to or who/what the client is all about.  
   I especially appreciate A.J. Livsey's comment about "never, ever, ever, say your publication is number one."  Especially, when the readership is less than 100,000.  Thank you A.J. Livsey for saying the things most advertising media professionals have been wanting to say for years but were afraid to at the risk of losing their jobs!

Kenneth Wolff
Burrell Communications

                                                                                                    Nov. 17, 2003
Dear Editor:

   In response to the article so eloquently titled "Please rep, don't waste my time", I'm so offended I can hardly see straight. 
   How is it that a 26-year-old rookie can criticize, undermine, and scold sales reps and be commended for it? Everyone of us has a job.
  We're all expected to follow the rules and guidelines of which upper management sets forth. 
   Give me a day and I'll have a list just as long and twice as articulate stating the idiosyncrasies of agency personnel.
  I'm so tired of defending my profession. I'd love to let A.J. know that respect is a luxury given only to those well deserving. 
   It's not automatic to any schlep that uses his or her brains to PLACE media space. None of us are rocket scientists and I hate agency brats that think otherwise.
   Planning, selling or buying...we all just put commercials on the air (or ads in magazines in this instance). It's really time sales people were viewed as part of the process that helps make that happen, not the annoying jerks that gets in the way.

Marcy Kettler-Thibault
Account Executive

                                                                                                    Nov. 17, 2003
Dear Editor:

   Just read A.J. Livsey's November 17 column, "Please rep, don't waste my time."
    I've been on the media planning and buying side of the desk for over 15 years, I've dealt with more than my fair share of reps, and even I was insulted by [her] very clichéd and patronizing viewpoint.
   We're in a business that requires us to build relationships with our media partners, not turn them into adversaries. 
   I really like your site, but if you're going to allow some kid to use it as a place to vent about reps that apparently didn't respect [her] (i.e. kiss [her] a**) enough, I'll get my media news and viewpoints elsewhere. [She] just knocked the overall quality of your editorial down several notches. Those that can, do, A.J., those that can't criticize others.

Bruce Haynes
Vice President, Media Manager

                                                                                                    Nov. 17, 2003
Dear Editor:

   After 20+ years with DDB, leaving as SVP/Group Media Director when Omnicom opened it's OMD buying service, I think I have a pretty good perspective on what is generally right and wrong with the advertising media industry.
    Of course, we're all entitled to our opinion, especially when it comes to rights and wrongs. And in my opinion, an example of one of the wrongs is blather the likes of which A.J. Livsey posted in today's issue of Media Life.
   Many of the points in the article are accurate. But the presentation proved indicative of a huge problem I see today: kids... and that's what people with five or less years in the business are... who feel oh-so important. 
   True, media planners are swamped these days, as the Starcoms, MindShares and other behemoths squeeze budgets by heaping more work on fewer people.
    And true, many reps don't use time appropriately. My complaint with A.J.'s rant is the smugness in which it is offered. The writer personifies a problem I saw as all to common: the young and inexperienced media person as haughty, self-important, snotty know-it-all.
   Under the heading "Respect My Authority," the writer suggests assistant planners and media directors should not be treated any differently. 
   Oh, really? After I nearly did a spit-take all over my keyboard as I tried to control my laughter, I wondered, "Who supervised this person? Who taught him or her to be so self-important?
     While every media person should be treated with proper respect, if an assistant feels he or she should be considered on the same plane as the media director, they are sadly mistaken. Of course, that's not to say they should be treated poorly. 
    But neither should they be treated the same as that veteran (and that's more than just getting to age 30, A.J.) given the responsibility for the agency's media product. I hate to break it to A.J., but respecting the authority of a media assistant is pretty easy, as media assistants have no authority. They are trainees... gatekeepers. Acting otherwise... and treating experienced sales people poorly... is a disservice to one's client, and will earn one a poor reputation over time. Unfortunately it happens all too often.
    This article could have been a very helpful piece for reps and planners alike. Mr. or Ms. Livsey squandered that opportunity, even while making several valid points. 
   The value was lost in the negative and overly authoritative tone. While not knowing A.J., but based on the attitude that colors today's article, the industry is better off having this person out of the agency side of the business. This is the kind of person who gives media a bad name.
   It seems as though this supports the old saw, "Those who can't do, teach."
   That said, I really appreciate Media Life. It's a great publication and I am happy to receive it. Keep up the mostly excellent work!

Dave Wilcox
General Manager
BlackHawk Farms
Frankfort, Ill.

You got it wrong on Maury' and 'Jerry'

                                                                                                     October 14, 2003

Dear Editor:

   I read with interest your story by Kevin Downey on Tuesday, Sept. 30, headlined "In syndication, strong get stronger." 
   What Kevin may not have realized is that "Maury" and "Jerry" were in reruns, not originals. Our new season did not begin until Sept. 14--so naturally their ratings would be lower than other shows in originals.
   Also, for Kevin to single out "Maury" and "Jerry" as two of the weaker shows in syndication is odd since in reality they are among the strongest and longest-running.
   "Maury" finished the 2002-03 season as one of the top-rated talk shows in syndication (frequently surpassing "Live with Regis and Kelly").
    It regularly gets numbers that are more than twice the size of the highest-rated new shows--they could only dream of having numbers that large--and a majority of the returning programs.
   In fact, it may interest Kevin to know that "Maury" has routinely beaten "Oprah" in the coveted women 18-34 demographic.
   "Jerry," meanwhile, has consistently ranked among the top five talk shows for six straight seasons--an amazing feat for any series. Only "Oprah" can claim the same. It was also the first and only talk show to have beaten "Oprah" for an entire season and, in the current third quarter, it has posted year-to-year growth despite being mostly in summer reruns.
   Media Life ran a story based on outdated numbers--on the very day the new national rankings report was released. The numbers change dramatically each week, especially when first-run shows are debuting for the new season with originals. Every other trade that week reported ratings information for the week of Sept. 15. That is when "Maury" and "Jerry" were up 12 percent and 5 percent, respectively, week-to-week for their season premieres.
   "Jerry" and "Maury" were relatively flat year-to-year during their debut week, holding up quite well against massive hurricane preemptions in East Coast markets.

Jim Benson
Senior vice president
Universal Television Distribution

The editor responds: The premise of the story holds. Ratings for the most popular syndicated shows tend to be going up while ratings for less popular programs tend to be falling. That isn’t a trend limited to a single week but is an ongoing one that has been pronounced early this season. That pattern was apparent for the week of Sept. 15, which included the “Maury” and “Jerry Springer” premieres. Focusing on talk shows and based on a comparison of household ratings to the same week last year, as opposed to a week earlier when some shows were still in reruns, the three top-rated programs posted significant year-to-year increases while four of the five lower rated shows were down or flat to last year. “Oprah” was up 18.3 percent, to a 7.1 rating, “Dr. Phil” was up 18.2 percent, to a 5.2, and “Live with Regis and Kelly” was up 2.9 percent, to a 3.5. At the same time, “Maury” was down 3.4 percent, to a 2.8, “Jerry” was flat at a 2.2, “Ricki Lake” was down 14.3 percent, to a 1.2, and “John Walsh” was flat at a 1.1.

Flaw in George's thinking

                                                                                                     July 18, 2003

Dear Editor:

"Oh, for the day when I choose my entertainment" by George Simpson.
 What makes George think that he won't have to pay $125 a month (probably, by then it will $225 a month given cable rate hikes) PLUS the $4.95 per to download a movie? Expect a price fixed cable menu with all of the goodies to be al a carte.

Dorothy Schatzkin
Media Partnership Corporation

Norwalk, Conn.

On SUVs and Jesus

                                                                                                     July 15, 2003

Dear Editor:

  Re: "SUV owners: Don't tell us what Jesus would drive"
   Who really cares?
    SUV owners already have the right to drive whatever they want and Liberal Christians have just as much right to spread their philosophical views.
   The only purpose these ads serve is to put some extra money into the USA Today coffers, give the "What Would Jesus Drive?" campaign a little more mileage, and brand those who think driving the modern equivalent of the station wagon is "really cool" as doofuses.

Dave Woodall
Media director
Yakima, Wash.

Selling America in the Arab world

                                                                                                     July 11, 2003

Dear Editor:

  Re: "Now, a word from our sponsor, the U.S. . ."
George is half right.
  It's not an advertising issue, but it is a branding issue. Once again, the world largely confuses the two. First you create the brand, then you raise the brand's awareness with advertising and PR.
  Simply raising awareness does nothing: everyone knows about cancer, but how many people want it?

Rob Frankel
Frankel & Anderson
Los Angeles

Morning papers are quite vital

                                                                                                     July 7, 2003

Dear Editor:

  Re: “Booming newspapers, just not here” of 24 June 2003.
    The article gives a good comprehensive coverage of various newspaper markets across the world.
   We at the Times group, publishers of The Times of India, the world’s largest English daily broadsheet, are in a constant process of evaluating international media trends to realign our business suitably.
   Over the last few years we have come across various media reports indicating that the newspaper business in mature markets is on a gradual decline, as also pointed out in the Media Life article. 
   The trend in total U.S. newspaper circulation as reported by Newspaper Association of America indeed supports the declining trend.
    However if the data on total circulation is disaggregated for morning’ and evening’ newspapers, an entirely different picture emerges. 
   Morning newspapers in the U.S. have increased in circulation from 24 million in 1960 to nearly 47 million in 2000 and evening newspapers in the corresponding period have reduced in circulation from 35 million to 9 million. 
   The number of morning newspapers in the same period has increased from 312 to 766 and number of evening newspapers has declined from 1459 to 727.
   We observed very similar trends in the biggest newspaper market of the world, Japan, and in Canada. On the basis of circulation alone, the morning market is more than five times the evening market. For the lack of data at our end, we hazard a guess that advertising market for morning newspapers would be at least 10 times that of evening newspapers. 
   We thus feel that in any trend evaluation of the newspaper industry, the morning and evening newspaper markets should be commented on independently, being two very different segments. 
Sumit Mittal
Bennett Coleman & Co. Ltd.
New Delhi , India

The Bernie I remember

                                                                                                     July 7, 2003

Dear Editor:

    I was a 21-year-old journalism student straight out of college when I had the extraordinary fortune of landing as a sales assistant to Brad Jones in the Newport Beach, California, office of Inc. Magazine.
   I didn't know it then but our odds were long to survive more than a year or two, the publishing business being the dog-eat-dog world it is. But led by Bernie, and inspired by his personal and financial commitments, we plowed ahead, not afraid to rub shoulder with Business Week and Fortune and Forbes (the Big Boys), convinced our message would strike a cord with readers. And it did.
   I left after only three years but not before having had the good fortune to meet Bernie personally and work on a day-to-day basis with the staff in Boston, all professionals, and all like family.
   I have thought many times of Bernie and the rest of the gang over the years.
    Hearing of his passing brings me sadness, even after all these years. He was a genius and a risk-taker, and publishing, as well as the world, is a lesser place without him.

Cindy Ellinger-Schwermer
Villing & Company
Mishawaka, Indiana


On the matter of Spike TV and your coverage

                                                                                                     June 20, 2003

Dear Editor:

 Interesting self-realization: I only enjoy the catty tone and op-ed writing style of Media Life Magazine when I agree with the slant of the article.
   There is an obvious anti-Spike Lee skew to your coverage of his injunction against TNN, and it bugs. The suit has, as your article points out, far reaching legal implications for our industry as well as others, and as such, warrants objective coverage.
    A definite and immediate association is made by the general public when the word "spike" is used in conjunction with entertainment. I'm not convinced that Viacom renamed its network to purposely profit from the use of the name, but I, for one, was sure that Spike TV was a Spike Lee enterprise and was curious as to what he was going to do on cable TV.
   To find out that Spike TV had nothing to do with the man made me immediately wonder if Spike was cool with the new name of the network. 
   I'm not surprised that he isn't. Programming content aside, the consumer takeaway from the title “Spike TV” is that the network is somehow his. With consideration of the content, I feel Spike has a right to protect his image from an association with raunch, and is valid in his legal pursuit.

Patricia Chambers
Media Consultant
Los Angeles

                                                                                                    June 20, 2003
Dear Editor:

    For all I know there is an attempt to cash in on Spike Lee's fame and fortune. 
   However, we should be reminded that before Lee there was Jones and hundreds or even thousands of long drinks of water with the nickname "Spike." 
   And your writer is right. There is no special magic to this name that used to be attached to tall, thin guys.

Nancy Lindemeyer
Ardsley-on-Hudson, NY

                                                                                                     June 20, 2003
Dear Editor:

   In reading the piece "After Spike spat, whither TNN?" I found myself re-checking the heading and the home page to see whether I was reading a news article or a commentary. 
   In the middle of reporting on Viacom's legal troubles over its choice of name for TNN, I was puzzled to find statements about the legal merits or "silly grounds" of Mr. Lee's suit. I went back to make sure that I had not missed quotation marks around the comments, expecting that such commentary must be attributable to a news source and not to the reporter. Did I miss something?
   As an attorney, I find the characterization of Mr. Lee's by the article short-sighed at least; after all, the courts have not had their final say. At a minimum, the comments were inappropriate in an article purporting to be news. 
   Further, as a woman I find it reasonable that a public person would want to disassociate himself and his image with the tasteless, and yes psuedo-pornographic, content planned by TNN for its relaunch as Spike.

Cheryl Ann Tolbert

Come on, Radar's not all that great

                                                                                                     June 20, 2003

Dear Editor:
   “The best new general interest magazine to find its way to newsstands in ages”? ("In praise of Radar, a promise delivered")
     Is our memory that short or are we so totally starved for a magazine that’s not (a) lorded over by publicists, (b) feeding on insecure women, or (c) feeding cleavage and fart jokes to “lads”, that our standards are at a low?
   Radar is ok, and thank god someone is trying something different, but it’s not nearly as funny/irreverent as Spy was, nor as funny/smart as Might was.

Brad Kloza

Don't blame the NBA finals on small-market teams

                                                                                                     June 17, 2003

Dear Editor:

     I agree with your basic premise that small TV markets equal small championship ratings. 
   However, I'd like to point something out to you. If you look at a DMA map of LA, Anaheim is definitely part of the LA market. Although Anaheim is  33 miles from downtown LA, that's not that far in LA distance terms. People commute much further than that every day.
   Also the Devils and Nets play in the Meadowlands, which is almost right across the George Washington Bridge and Hudson River from Manhattan (generally considered the heart of NYC). 
   Even if you argue that these suburban teams don't have the appeal of their urban cousins, you still have to keep in mind that if the state of New Jersey was a separate TV market, it would still probably be in the top 10 in population rank. 
   Maybe some additional factors are also at work here because the only one of the teams mentioned that fits the mold you're casting is the San Antonio Spurs.
Arnold Boatner
Senior Account Manager
Interactive Market Systems
Los Angeles

Thanks for your defense of Martha

                                                                                                     June 9, 2003

Dear Editor:

     I want to take a minute from a very busy day to congratulate you on your very smart column on Martha Stewart ("A modest, reasoned defense of Martha: What we are watching is an egregious abuse of power")
   You are absolutely correct and anyone who believes that what is happening to Martha Stewart is totally justified should ask themselves why haven't we seen the monsters from Enron and Tyco, etc., subjected to at least the same kind of smear and destroy campaign?
   Martha's no saint but she is, as you point out, entitled to what the law entitles everyone else to: innocent until proven guilty. 
   She's also, God help me, a woman - and perhaps not in the inner Bush-supermachotestosterone circle, so an easier and less protected target.

Francine Ryan
Executive Vice President
The Ryan Group
New York


                                                                                                     June 9, 2003

Dear Editor:
Thank you for verbalizing what I've been trying to put into words for the past few days. Now that you've written it, I don't have to wear myself out by thinking so hard!

Nancy Haynes
Communications Director
Collins, Haynes & Lully Advertising
Charlotte, N.C.



Dear Editor:
  Thank you for the Martha Stewart defense. I made the same point at a dinner party this past weekend and was accused of playing the gender card. 
    I've forwarded your piece in my own defense.

Christine Salem
Director, Specialty Publishing and Strategic Planning
Outside Magazine
Santa Fe

If Martha, why not Cheney?

                                                                                                     June 6, 2003

Dear Editor:
    This to me is just another example of Bush's "stupid white men" policy--try to scare everyone into compliance with his mode of thinking (?) and supposed "family values."
   If this were fair, why is Cheney still VP?  
   Wasn't he part of Halliburton et al? 
   Give Martha a thumbs up for me!

Maia Daly

                                                                                 June 4, 2003
Dear Editor:

This woman has made the most important contribution to wake up American style and the general citizen's quality of everyday life since Jacqueline Kennedy-Onassis walked into the White House. 
  I definitely think this ruckus is due to her celebrity and frankly, I am revolted by this late 20th Century predilection for hounding icons with the "high-minded" pseudo-justice that permeates the media.

F. Williamson Price
New York

The real reasons Raines quit The Times
                                                                                 June 6, 2003
Dear Editor:
   The following is in response to your June 6 story on the Howell Raines resignation. In light of all the talk of disaster and industry upheaval, I thought it would be appropriate to add the following touch of humor to the subject.
   Top 10 Reasons Why Howell Raines Resigned:
    10) Is moving to Atlanta to join Augusta National
     9) Will be new spin mater for Martha Stewart
    8) Will co-author “The Truth Behind the War With Saddam” with Baghdad Bob
    7) Will be U.S. editor for London Times and make up daily stories from his Manhattan apartment
    6) Is going to produce a new series of "On The Road" stories for CBS Morning News to feature Jayson Blair, which will be taped at Silver Cup Studios in Queens
   5) Plans on becoming head writer of News Update on "Saturday Night Live"
   4) Will write a book titled ” Editing For Dummies”
   3) Had discovered Times reporters had filed all Iraq War reports from the Side Track Sports Bar on Queens Boulevard.
   2) Is going to team up with Jayson Blair for a remake of Bill Cosby-Robert Culp classic series, “I Spy,” to be retitled “I Lie.”
  1) Got fed up working for a boss named “Pinch”

William L. Whitely
Executive Vice President
Communications Science and Technologies
New York

(More) Remembering 'Bonanza's' demise
                                                                                 May 30, 2003
Dear Editor:
   This is in response to Ed Robertson's article (When perfect doesn't make 'Practice': Kelley, endless tinkerer, ought to dump the show) and a letter by Bob Jenkins, RLJ Communications, Chevy Chase, MD and Mr. Robertson's response.
  What all seem to be forgetting is the fact that for the entire summer of 1972 preceding what turned out to be "Bonanza's" last season, NBC conducted an elaborate promotion campaign touting the wedding of Little Joe (Mike Landon).
   When "Bonanza" returned leading off the fall season, viewers found that the writers in their wisdom had constructed a plot that had Little Joe become a groom and a widower in the wedding episode. 
  "Bonanza" never recovered from this plot twist as the ratings slid throughout the fall. As was reported at the time, many viewers obviously felt betrayed by the producers.
   Another historical point: When the end did come to "Bonanza" at midseason, Lorne Greene learned the bitter news from a trade press reporter. In a what's-he-done-for-us-lately move, NBC management neglected to give their perennial leading network star any advance notice of their decision to deep-six the Cartwright clan.

William L. Whitely
Executive Vice President
Communications Science and Technologies
New York

The writer responds:
Mr. Whitely is right in pointing out that Bonanza "jumped the shark" with the old "let's marry off Little Joe then kill off his bride in the same episode" trick.  But the fact remains that Bonanza's numbers had been steadily declining in each of its previous two seasons before NBC moved it to Tuesday nights.  The slide was serious enough for the show to consider the wedding/funeral stunt to open the 14th season in the first place.  Aging shows do that all the time.  When the ratings start to dip, they resort to weddings, birth, funerals, divorce and other gimmicks in hopes of breathing new life to an otherwise ailing format. 


Remembering 'Bonanza's' demise
                                                                                 May 28, 2003
Dear Editor:
   Ed Robertson's article (When perfect doesn't make 'Practice': Kelley, endless tinkerer, ought to dump the show)  seems to be spot-on with his examples, but with 'Bonanza' he should have used the actual situation rather than conjecture that the loss of Lorne Greene or Michael Landon would have been the end of the series. 
   It was, in fact, the death of Dan Blocker in 1972 that spelled doom for the show. 'Bonanza' was cancelled by NBC halfway through the following season because no one could replace the lovable Hoss Cartwright. 
   On the other hand, the series enjoyed a 14-year run.

Bob Jenkins
RLJ Communications
Chevy Chase, MD

The writer responds: Mr. Jenkins has a point in that the death of Blocker in 1972 did change the dynamics of the show, but that wasn't what doomed "Bonanza." What doomed "Bonanza" was the same thing that spells the demise of many a show: declining ratings. In fall 1972, the show's fourteenth and last year, NBC pulled it from its longtime Sunday slot in favor of "Columbo" and the "NBC Mystery Movie," which had been drawing better numbers. They put 'Bonanza' on Tuesday, where it got clobbered against "Hawaii Five-O." Blocker's death may have been a factor, but the show was clearly long in the tooth at the time and probably would have died anyway. The point being, of course, Greene was the stalwart lead and Landon was the teenage heartthrob. Without either of them, "Bonanza" would not have been the same.

Listen up, ABC, for some fix-up advice
                                                                                      May 22, 2003
Dear Editor:
   Re: At season's end, ABC is a sinker: Overcome by disappointments after hopeful start
   Here's a novel way ABC might help ratings: Avoid alienating viewers by regularly airing programs during their scheduled time slot.
    I will use "Alias" as a case in point, although I must admit being an avid fan. It's no surprise the show cannot regularly post strong numbers when viewers tune in mid-season to find a rerun or are left further bewildered when the show is preempted. Viewers then wait two or three weeks for a new episode to air.
    Once this occurs enough, viewers will not make the same effort to watch, and ratings will slide. This should be common sense, and it's really a shame for an award-winning show. 
   As a viewer, I have asked myself several times, what the heck's going on over there? It obviously boils down to revenues, but when it comes to attracting an audience, consistency is a good thing.

Bill Brown
Senior media planner
Ackerman McQueen
Irving, Texas

Off to the hoosegow with Jayson Blair
                                                                                      May 21, 2003
Dear Editor:
   I am appalled by the gloating remarks coming from the NY Times reporter who fabricated many of his stories. 
   This guy is no better than any computer hacker or as you say in your article, a pyromaniac. I don't know if what he did can be prosecuted, but it would delight me to know that he will somehow have to pay for his abhorrent behavior. 
   The guy is nuts but also a calculating deviant. We don't need people like Jayson Blair in society. Lock him up!

Steve Wellman
Director, Advertising Sales

So maybe Times circ is off from its price rise?
                                                                                      May 19, 2003
Dear Editor:
   Could it be that the reason behind the decline in circulation of  The  New York Times was a result of its price increase from 75 cents to  $1.00 that occurred on December 30? 
     Funny but this increase didn't seem to get much coverage and caused nary an outcry, but the 33 percent  increase is similar in magnitude to the increase in subway fare a few weeks ago that has created such a furor.

Rob Frydlewicz
VP Research Director
Carat Insight
New York

Job for Jayson Blair with John Stossel?
                                                                                      May 14, 2003
Dear Editor:
Maybe Jayson Blair can get a gig on "20/20" as John Stossel's research assistant . . . (Stink-raising Stossel joins Babs on "20/20")

Cynthia Qualich
Mercury Communication Partners
Brookfield, WI 

Setting the record straight on Indy and Tony George
                                                                                      May 14, 2003
Dear Editor:

    First off let me say that I'm no fan of the IRL, CART, or even Tony George but subscriber John Speck's rant ("Indy can blame Tony George", Letters, 5/13/03 Media Life) is nothing more than an undeserved Tony George/IRL public flogging.
   If Mr. Speck is indeed as big a fan of open-wheel racing racing as he claims, he knows that a number of his assertions are false: "...the Indy 500 no longer attracts the best drivers the way it once did."
     Then why have all the best CART teams and their drivers abandoned CART for the IRL? That was last year's news, move on.
    "Nobody will ever again win both the Indy 500 and the Formula 1 championship as Mario Andretti did in the 1970s. The gap between the two is just too far."
   Hmmmm, heard of a guy named Juan Pablo Montoya? 
  He's already won Indy and I don't think anyone would place a bet against him winning the F1 title in the near future too.
   "The 500 attracts a legion of wannabes and wash-ups who go for the big paychecks and easy living the IRL offers."
   I know, don't you just hate big paychecks and easy living?
    I really feel sorry for guys like Bobby Rahal, Roger Penske, Chip Ganassi, Mo Nunn, John Menard, Eddie Cheever, Mike Andretti, and Al Unser Jr. 
   Too bad they can't enjoy a rewarding career in advertising like the rest of us.
    "What they don't get is high-technology cars or even mildly interesting tracks on which to race."  Finally, something Mr. Speck and I can agree on.
    Oh, by the way, have you noticed a little racing series called NASCAR?
    "But (the IRL is) losing the fans to the extent that even the 500 is a yawner."
    News Flash: The Indy 500 has been in a TV ratings decline for a lot longer than the CART/IRL feud has been going on. But whatever your opinion, the IRL seems to be working. Teams continue to defect from CART, and the product is definitely more professionally presented today.
    The IRL continues to attract the interest of major sponsors as well as fans. I will agree that personally I'd like to see the speeds back up into the 240mph+ range,  where they were the last year CART raced there.
    I think when speed becomes the story again, record speeds, you'll see interest return. 
   "Meanwhile, Champ Cars (nee CART) have bounced off their lows and are aggressively pursuing an affiliation with F1 to become the top "ladder" series that feeds F1 with drivers who are ready to make the step."
    That's a success story? Morphing into the Minor Leagues of F1 because your very survival depends on it? F1 already has about a dozen minor leagues. Hell, The F1 talent scouts are so good now that guys practically go straight into F1 cars from go carts! 
   Sorry, I don't know many athletes that aspire to the minor leagues.
   "A parting thought about what a bone-head Tony George is: The best-attended Formula 1 event on the calendar is the U.S. Grand Prix held on a special road course constructed at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Get the picture, Tony?
   " Let's see, the U.S. has a population of approx 270 million people, it hasn't hosted an F1 race since the early 90's, it's one of the least expensive races to attend on the calendar, and it's only going to get one race. 
   By contrast, there are numerous races throughout Europe. There have been continually since the early fifties, and they all cost an arm and a leg to go to. 
   Yeah, it is difficult to understand why the USGP would be the most well attended event on the F1 calendar.
    My parting thought? That "Bone Head", Tony George, brought F1 back to the States. Get the picture John?

Dave Woodall
Media director
Yakima, Washington

Indy can blame Tony George
                                                                                      May 12, 2003
Dear Editor:

    As a fan of open wheel-racing, I'm not at all surprised that the Indy 500 is sinking like a stone (Expect another sleeper Indy 500: Lack of dramatic storylines to draw in viewers).
While the lack of a compelling story line doesn't help, one aspect that Toni Fitzgerald didn't mention is the series of decisions made by Tony George, who heads up both the Indy track and the IRL.
   To get right down to the crux, because the IRL is what it is, the Indy 500 no longer attracts the best drivers the way it once did. Nobody will ever again win both the Indy 500 and the Formula 1 championship as Mario Andretti did did in the 1970s. 
   The gap between the two is just too far. The 500 attracts a legion of wannabes and wash-ups who go for the big paychecks and easy living the IRL offers. What they don't get is high-technology cars or even mildly interesting tracks on which to race. And now, TG has made rules even more prohibitive to keep the CART/Champ teams away. And handing the 2002 race to IRL driver Helio Castroneves when CART's Paul Tracy had clearly passed him was the final nail in the coffin.

   Tony George incorrectly postulated that Americans would be interested in a down-market, NASCAR-style open-wheel series that races only on ovals. Um, maybe not, Tony. Sure, the IRL is attractive to teams because its cheap. But it's losing the fans to the extent that even the 500 is a yawner.
   Meanwhile, Champ Cars (nee CART) have bounced off their lows and are aggressively pursuing an affiliation with F1 to become the top "ladder" series that feeds F1 with drivers who are ready to make the step.
   A parting thought about what a bone-head Tony George is: The best attended Formula 1 event on the calendar is the U.S. Grand Prix held on a special road course constructed at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. 
   Get the picture, Tony?

John Speck
Marketing Consultant
Mediaspace Solutions
Providence, RI

Count online users in newspaper circulation
                                                                                      May 8, 2003
Dear Editor:
   The article that Jeff Berovici wrote in your May 6th Media Life issue, Even with war, big papers lost readers: If anything, Iraq may simply have slowed declines, reports the facts about circulation decline but omits the growth of readership online for most newspapers. 
   There is a total lack of understanding of readership behavior in reporting. True, the baby boomers are loyal to print. But the 18-35 year olds are turning more and more to their local newspaper online in the mornings. 
   This trend will grow, particularly as streaming video becomes more mainstream. The New York Times and Wall Street Journal have large exclusive audiences online. 
  This should be factored into all newspaper circulation/readership articles.

Dorothy Wayner
Director of Research & Sales Development
Landon Media Group LLC
New York

Real doubts about doorhangers
                                                                                      May 5, 2003
Dear Editor:
   Upon reading this week's outdoor feature, Rinnng! Your client on a doorknob: Neato. Sweep the hood with dangling messages,  I felt obliged to write. 
   I understand doorhangers are highly cost-effective. I understand they are impossible to miss. I also understand most go straight into the trashcan-- or blowing across the neighborhood. 
   Doorhangers are great for litter and landfills, and I prefer to limit my contributions to both. Where did I run amiss? Contributing, it seems, is "neato."
   Considering the various methods of reaching a targeted audience with a relevant message, I cannot understand why any media person worth his/her salt still makes use of these. 
    How about a little more strategy? How about reaching an intrinsically valuable audience based on research? 
   Targeting by zip code alone is a joke. Which landfill is on plan for next week? 
   Please consider this comes not from an environmental extremist by any stretch but rather from a media person who prefers a strategic approach that minimizes waste. |
   Isn't that still part of the equation?

Bill Brown
Senior media planner
Ackerman McQueen
Irving, Texas

A founding editor remembers her Victoria

                     April 9, 2003
Dear Editor:
It is always sad when people lose jobs in an industry that appears to have gotten so used to it that it almost treated like the shipping news. I can forgive you for that, but as the founding editor I think there are a few things to praise about Victoria other than it was a redundant
shelter title.
    Perhaps there is something instructive in looking at the history of a magazine. Publishers seem to be making the same mistakes over and over and are so very thankful when one hits the wall and sticks or when a new editor in a succession of experiments finally makes it.
  Victoria was not strictly a shelter book. While it covered shelter along with beauty, fashion, gardening and all the usual suspects from its own perspective, it also published writing by outstanding woman authors with a writer's in residence program that supported such notable writers as Susan Minot and Judith Thurman. Victoria published Jane Smiley before she won the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award. Victoria  took on  the promotion of women's businesses, publishing thousands of them and supporting their products. In fact, it was the No. 1 magazine read by self-employed women, more than the business books. And it went further, providing seminars for women to introduce them to ways to turn their passions into profits. In every way, Victoria gave women the opportunity to choose what was beautiful and uplifting in their lives and their world over what was not. It gave women a place to refresh and renew.
  Victoria was AdWeek's hot magazine of the year in the first year it went monthly and stayed on the list for a time. In that same year, Victoria was the first magazine of its type, heavily illustrated, to be done  completely on the computer, setting the standard for many others to follow. The ways in which we did it had nothing to do with parlors but with innovative thinking and diligent work. In seven issues, Victoria reached a circulation of 750,000, putting it in record breaking company.
   Its response from an insert card was in the 18 percent range and 30,000 women wrote in, "white mail," to give the magazine as a gift. Victoria's renewal rate and gift programs were enviable. Why? This statement from an early reader says it all, "How did you know?" We provided a magazine in content and approach that women didn't know they wanted until they saw it. The first issue was a newsstand sellout. There was virtually no promotion.
   I left Victoria in 2000, after 15 years at Hearst, and cannot speak for the last several years. But like all magazines Victoria needed to grow and develop, and I did not see the way I would do that as being supported. My personal life is richer for having been at the startup of Victoria and for spending years with a dedicated and brilliant staff, never more that a dozen on staff at any one time. It was enriched by the thousands of readers I met on book tours and in seminars. One woman put her arms around me in the middle of a mall and told me that Victoria helped her get through the suicide of her teenage son. How could a magazine do that? Perhaps that is the true legacy of the Victoria I knew. It has been more than a redundant shelter title to millions of women.
   The English crowds who greeted Queen Victoria near the end of her long reign chanted, "You've done it well, old girl" as she rode through the London streets. I learned this in one of the Off Broadway dramatic readings that Victoria produced. The stars were Richard Kiley and Julie Harris. Leslie Caron, Rosemary Harris, and others joined them in this outstanding program. New York's giver of gardens, Enid Haupt, was one of the stars in Victoria's crown, a program to honor women of achievement and support their endeavors with grants. Victoria magazine, you've done it well for so many.

Nancy Lindemeyer
Founding Editor, VICTORIA
Ardsley-on-Hudson, New York

May 'Ed' be saved, and spare us from more reality

                     March 31, 2003
Dear Editor:
   Thanks very much for your interesting article on the show, "Ed." (Don't toss sod on NBC's 'Ed' just yet New Friday time slot may be its salvation, not death.)
     It gives those of us who have watched it since the beginning some hope that it will be saved from cancellation. 
     There are so few shows on TV now that actually tell a story and aren't some new stupid reality program. 
   Really, if I want more reality, I can just stay at work longer.  I want shows that allow you to grow to like the characters and which provide some escapism.  
   I've had it with reality, but then I'm not in the 18-25 year old demo, which is a group that loves reality and also who the networks seem to care about anyway.
    If the networks keep this up, they will lose the viewers who REALLY spend money, contrary to their beliefs that your buying patterns are set for life at 25!
   Thanks again for the article.  I hope "Ed" can be saved.  It deserves it. 

Vicki Kiger
Marketing Director
Richmond, Va.

Please, don't let GQ go down the lad road

                     March 14, 2003
Dear Editor:
Art Cooper's departure from GQ should not give Conde Nast an excuse to turn the magazine into a Maxim knock-off.
    First off, just browsing a newsstand will tell you that the lad magazine field is ridiculously crowded as it is.  I'm not quite sure how all of these magazines manage to stay in business. 
   Second off, Esquire has been modestly successful by keeping the high ground. Editor David Granger wisely chose to stick to his guns at the magazine and it is beginning to pay off. 
   Besides, Esquire will probably get a boon in circulation when all of the readers of Maxim, Stuff, etc. grow up.
   Seriously, what self-respecting man of 26 or 27 on up will be caught in public reading Maxim?
   Also, as a media planner, I could never include the lad magazines on a media plan, but GQ and Esquire routinely showed up on media recommendations because they reinforced brand image and helped target affluent readers.
   All in all, these two magazines provide a far better package than the lad magazines with their inflated circulations consisting mainly of college students. 
   GQ should follow Esquire's example and hold the high ground, maintaining confidence that sticking with what has been successful in the past will be successful in the future.

Branden Axtell
Luckie & Co.
Birmingham, Ala.

Katz response to phooey letter on radio diversity

                     March 14, 2003
Dear Editor:
   Re: Phooey to Arbitron's diversity in radio claim.
     This is the 46th edition of the Katz National Format Averages study. It has been published semiannually by Katz since 1980, 16 years before the passage of the 1996 Telcom act and more than 20 years before Katz became an independent subsidiary of Clear Channel. 
   The study uses independent sources for audience data and format definitions and simply tracks radio programming and listening patterns over the past 23 years. 
   The facts clearly support the study's conclusion that radio format development has accelerated since 1996

Lisa Chiljean
V.P./Director of Research
Katz Dimensions

Phooey to Arbitron's diversity in radio claim

                     March 12, 2003
Dear Editor:
  The Arbitron survey, quoted in the article (Get this: Radio is more diverse::Study: Consolidation has led to more formats),
was funded by Clear Channel. Zero credibility.
  Our 15-year-old daugter received XM Satellite for Christmas. Since that time she has yet to turn on her "regular" radio. She was fed up with local Houston radio playing the same songs over and over accompanied by a blizzard of commercials.

John F. Mitton

A big gong for Paul Benjou

                     March 6, 2003
Dear Editor:
   I think it interesting that a publication that usually does such a good job at covering the media and advertising industry so journalistically would run a commentary piece slamming a provider of internet advertising technology services written by a gentleman who works for a company that is in direct competition with them. (More snake oil from DoubleClick: Untangling the twisted logic of an internet reach study. Let's sell the web on the value it brings. This only causes harm.)
   Paul Benjou, who wrote the commentary piece today, is director of client services at AdWare, a company owned by MediaPlex (itself owned by ValueClick), which is an interactive advertising technology provider in the exact same space as DoubleClick.  They are both, at their core, ad servers. 
   Not to mention that both his points one and two are essentially "granfalloons" to the debate about online advertising effectiveness as it compares to traditional media
    His point one: "One, how was MRI data utilized? Data sets between MRI and ratings data are different and cannot be combined with any statistical relevance.  
  His point two: "Two, MRI data is based on field studies that are months behind the release of data. How was this correlated with more current Nielsen data?"  
   MRI and ratings data have been combined for ages through the use of IMS and Telmar media research interface tools.  That's how reach/frequency calculators provided by both IMS and Telmar have worked for years.  Nielsen data combined with MRI data have often been correlated to get R/Fs in traditional media.
   So misleading statements and a derogatory tone leveled at a company that happens to be a direct competitor to the author is, well, to quote the author:   "Hopefully, no one will remember what this [piece] was about six months from today, with the exception of the few marketers who were convinced to believe that it provides [no] proof of performance.  It does no such thing. It encourages the application of twisted logic."
   One further note: If motivation and/or integrity are to be challenged and questioned by the writer, wouldn't it have been more equitable to have pointed the pen at MRI, Nielsen and IMS, who were the key players of the study instead of Doubleclick? 
   DoubleClick in this instance was the messenger, not the auteur.

Jim Meskauskas
Chief Strategic Officer
Underscore Marketing
New York

Benjou replies: With all due respect to Jim Meskauskas, I am impressed and mildly amused at his response to my commentary. I fail to see the relevance he clearly applies to the fact that I am indirectly employed by a competitor to the company that commissioned the study. Am I somehow excluded from making observations on others in the ad-serving field? What point is he attempting to make?
His counterpoint, “MRI and ratings data have been combined for ages through the use of IMS and Telmar media research interface tools” to my points, celebrates the hypnotic and ill-advised “karass” by the “granfaloons” that continue to perpetuate bad research. 
  To suggest that the underlying methodology is okay just because it’s been so for many years is not acceptable and does not make it right. Shame on us for coming to believe the “numbers” we’ve been serving up.
   As for my leveling guns at Doubleclick and not those commissioned, please re-read the release. It was a release by Doubleclick. My commentary was directed at the release and its implications, not the study.

The editor responds:  Media Life accepts commentary pieces without regard to whether they offend or annoy competitors or whether Media Life happens to agree with the position of the writer. The chief concern is that they address issues under discussion in the media marketplace. The writer in turn understands that by publishing a piece of commentary in Media Life, his thoughts, motives and very integrity are then open to criticism for those who disagree.

Why 'I'm a Celeb' doesn't work

                     March 3, 2003
Dear Editor:
Regarding these celeb reality shows, I have seen only segment some of the current 15-nighter on ABC ["I'm a Celebrity---Get Me Out of Here']. One problem is too much host and not enough of whatever they hoped these 10 (now 6?) would achieve, such as what chores they did or not do.
   One of the things that may have made "Joe Millionaire," "Bachelor," and "Bachelorette" more interesting was the relating of viewers to participants.
      The third-rate celebs are not that interesting, except to verify that all people talk about each other, or they would be on the A list.

Martha Sheridan
Tolbert Sheridan

Praise Dan Jewel for pegging 'Joe Millionaire'

                     Feb. 14, 2003
Dear Editor:
Dan Jewel is dead-on with his comments concerning Joe Millionaire ('Joe Millionaire,' too clever by half First Fox tricks the women, now the viewers. Bad. But the sleaze, oh, my. . .).
  I will only be tuning in for the last five minutes of the show to watch the carnage.
   Fox really blew it, and if their sponsors have half a brain, they will negotiate their spots to appear within the last fifteen minutes of the show.
   And if reality show produces have half a brain, they will start placing the conclusions of these reality shows in the middle of the broadcasts, and use their clever editing skills to show us the events which lead up to that decision, or they might start building toward the following week's episode with the weekly cliffhanger--as opposed to the conclusion--at the end of each episode.
   We are trained to tune in at the last five minutes of these shows, and Fox simply proved that we are right to do so.

Richard Phoebus
Orlando, Fla

Fan mail: Media Life is prettier
                     Feb. 3, 2003
Dear Editor:
  I am a fan of Media Life. 
   Congratulations on your new cleaner look.

Andeen Pitt
Media Director
Wasserman and Partners Advertising

Clear Channel not a monopoly? My foot.
                     Jan. 31, 2003
Dear Editor:
Clear Channel chief executive Lowry Mays can say Clear Channel is not a monopoly all he wants ("Clear Channel chief disputes monopoly tag")It won't make it true.
  Clear Channel may only own 10 percent
of all radio stations in the country, but look at how they are "clustered" in markets.  
The word "cluster" is Clear Channel's way of beating buyers and anybody else into doing business the Clear Channel way. 

Lorri Hromas
Media director
Marcom Advertising

Hey, what about rehashed 'Columbo?'
                     Jan. 30, 2003
Dear Editor:
  Ed Robertson refers to Peter Falk's successfully reprising "Columbo" in 1989 ('Dragnet' must escape its history: Few remakes overcome the past. Jack, you there?) 
    What does he think of the newest version, which aired on ABC last night?  
   I watched "Columbo" faithfully for years, but last night I found the widely touted "all new" Columbo story so uninteresting, tacky and uninspired that I switched to "Smart Travels in Europe" on PBS 30 minutes into the story -- before Peter Falk even made an appearance.

Kristine Heine
Global Communicators
Washington, DC

Actually, Ed and Ethan go back some
                     Jan. 30, 2003
Dear Editor:
    I just read "'Dragnet,' against the odds, it works: O'Neill pulls off a solid Joe Friday. Al who?" by Ethan Alter.
      In the review he mentions the fact that Ed O'Neill and Ethan Embry are strangers.  However, they starred together in the 1991 movie "Dutch."  
    If I'm not mistaken, Embry went by the name Ethan Randall back then. 

Jackie Essary
Haworth Media

Don't blame 'Alias', blame ABC
                     Jan. 29, 2003
Dear Editor:
     Don't blame "Alias" for being a ratings bummer. 
    Blame ABC for stretching out the post-game show ad nauseum. (
How ABC fumbled its Super Bowl edge: Great post-game time slot. But 'Alias?')
   Did we really need to watch Bon Jovi performing?    
    Name a primetime show that can pull in decent numbers with an 11:00 p.m. start. It doesn't happen. According to my TV page, "Alias" was supposed to go on at 10:15.  ABC shot themselves in the foot.
  "Alias" remains one of the cleverest escapist shows on TV.  Its plot twists and turns rival, if not exceed, "24."
     If they are dumbing down the show, as you suggest, they will kill off their cult following and not draw anyone new in at the same time.
     I hope it's not a sad demise for a terrifically entertaining show.

Jim Coakley
Senior Vice President
Pedone & Partners
New York

Adam Moss the Times' PC police
                     Jan. 28, 2003
Dear Editor:
    Now the N.Y. Times Magazine will only have to bow to the pressures from the PC Police at The Times and not those demanding advertisers (Adam Moss on the Times Magazine: The challenge of differentiating it from the paper).)

Damia McGlynn
Hometown Guide,
Wilton, Conn.

Please, early adopters, not adaptors
                     Jan. 23, 2003

Dear Editor:
Please consider this headline of yesterday:
“Adult services king: Early adapters yearn for porn”
   Adapters are what you use to connect two different style plugs.  Adopters are people who start using new things, or parents who adopt children.

Paul Gillespie
National Advertising Sales Manager
Technology Review
Cambridge, Mass

The editor replies:  If consistency is a virtue, Media Life has been most virtuous in mixing these two terms up almost from the beginning of its existence. We stand corrected, and we thank Paul for pointing out the error. 

Super Bowl ad recall hype is, well, hype
                     Jan. 21, 2003

Dear Editor:
   Anyone who believes that close to 100 percent of 18-49s hang around for all the Super Bowl commercials, I've got the Golden Gate Bridge to sell you, cheap. 
   Every survey taken after a Super Bowl states that the majority of commercials have no recall. If they do, the viewers can't ID the product or service, which makes any recall or awareness worthless.
    Remember, you can make numbers do anything you want. Always look at whose paying for a survey or poll. 

Edgar S. Spizel
Former head of ad/pr agency
San Francisco

Tell Passikoff to go push sand
                     Jan. 21, 2003

Dear Editor:
    Has the humor in your publication simply taken on a new, deadpan delivery, or does Passikoff really think he's qualified to dismiss all agencies and all media planners with a wave of his arrogant hand, as if he knew enough to proclaim they were all cut from the same cloth, and that none of them had ever gone beyond the numbers to think about the environment? ("Thinking beyond reach and frequency: Try it. Consider the fit with the vehicle's values").
    Is he perhaps acting out on a complex based on the pervasive broad-stroke assessment of consultants as snake-oil salesmen and idea repackagers?   
   A CONSULTANT pontificating about ACCOUNTABILITY?  Now that's funny!  
   Thanks for doing us a service by publishing such a baseless blast of self-aggrandizing generalities and giving it an author. 
   Now I know a little more about the kind of people whispering in the clients' other ear all the time.

Fraser Elliott
A Midwest group planning director

What AOL must do to heal itself
                     Jan. 17, 2003

Dear Editor:
In the parade of firings, hirings, and aspirings at AOL, I have yet to hear anyone articulate the one sure way to lift the company to profitability: produce the equivalent of hit shows on the web. 
    Dial-up is dying and broadband access will soon be plentiful and cheap. We're about to come full circle, to the second era of "content is king."
    But AOL cannot merely upload terabytes of Time-Warner content, as if the internet were merely a delivery service for TV shows and magazine articles. 
   To succeed and build revenue, AOL must pioneer an entirely new entertainment form, one that leverages the unique interactive elements of the medium.

Allan Hoving
The Frequency
Westport, Conn.

Weather Channel, just the weather, thanks
                     Jan. 16, 2003

Dear Editor:
    I'm responding to Heidi Vogt's article about the Weather Channel's long-form programs. (Weather Channel: Won't you stick around?: Expanding programming beyond quickie forecast, hoping to hold viewers a bit longer.)
    Of late, I find nothing more annoying than flipping to the Weather Channel for the latest forecast and instead finding a program showing a re-enactment of Ned from Oklahoma hiding under a mattress as the great twister of 1986 bore down. 
    I turn to the Weather Channel for the temperature and conditions in my neighborhood - and that's it.  Rather than watching for 2-3 minutes, I view for only 5 seconds when I come across their long-form programs.  I have not interest in hearing for the umpteenth time an eyewitness account of how a tornado sounded like "a hundred locomotives".

Rob Frydlewicz
Research Director
Carat Insight
New York

Osbournes, our real Beverly hillbillies
                     Jan. 7,2003

Dear Editor:
    Aren't "The Osbournes" the hillbillies in the L.A. mansion? (Big stink over CBS hillbilly reality series: Rural activists: Don't you dare pick on our folk)
     I'm so confused.

Cynthia Qualich
Media Director
Mercury Communication Partners
Brookfield, WI

Hey, you forgot us
                        Dec. 17, 2002

Dear Editor:
    I'm writing in reference to the interesting article by Jeff Bercovici regarding the launch of STA's magazine for college students, Xplore (Xplore, for college kids with loose feet, From Jungle, a travel title enters a crowded field.) From Jungle, a travel title enters a crowded field.)
   I just wanted to let you know that, unfortunately, you've missed mentioning one of the biggest players in the student travel market - Student Traveler Magazine.
   Unlike Outside, National Geo Adventure, or Frommer's Budget Travel, our magazine is already focused directly on the student travel market, and we've been there for six years now.
   Unlike STA's Xplore, we are completely independent and have grown from a small magazine written by college travelers for college travelers to one of the most widely-distributed magazines for young travelers.
    We are freely distributed on over 750 college campuses in the United States, are expanding from 50,000 to 100,000 circulation in our next issue, are published five times per year, and are truly the voice of the independent student traveler.
   I'm sure Xplore will be a great, high-end publication for STA, but for all the students who truly want advice from independent sources and inspiration from travelers like themselves, they'll still pick up our magazine in their study-abroad offices first.
   If you're interested in seeing print copies of our recent issues, please feel free to let me know.
Thanks for taking the time to cover the travel magazine business, especially for adventurous and student travelers.

Jeff Booth
Student Traveler Magazine

Hey, you forgot us, too
                                                                                     Dec. 17, 2002

Dear Editor:
    Your magazine was remiss when Places, the magazine for the modern nomad, was not mentioned in your article on travel magazines that target younger travelers. In your article on Jungle Media’s new travel magazine, you failed to mention that Places, the magazine for the modern nomad, invented that genre.
   There had never been a travel magazine specifically designed for 18-35 year-old travelers before Places, the magazine for the modern nomad, launched in August 2001.
   Our magazine just celebrated its one-year anniversary issue not too long ago.
  However, unlike Jungle’s new magazine, which will be distributed by STA travel and is only for 18-25 year-olds, Places has full newsstand and bookstore distribution and has gained a large following from people of varying ages who represent the new travel culture, anywhere from 18-49. It has always been Places intention to be a voice, and a magazine where younger travelers and readers could find a design style and editorial content that they could personally relate to. Looking towards the future, we will continue to innovate and revolutionize the genre.

Paul W Jacob
Publishing and editorial director

Please, stop the NY Post headlines

                       Nov. 21, 2002

Dear Editor:
  Just wanted to say that I found your headline about "flop sweat" re: Donahue quite objectionable.  (Deathwatch for Donahue Television: He's oozing flop sweat, sure. But don't dig just yet)
   You are, after all, not the New York Post.
   On the whole you are a good site and I enjoy your news and insights but this was uncalled for.

Eileen Wise
PR Manager
The Economist

The editor responds: We are indeed not the New York Post

Hey, you guys got it wrong

                         Nov. 8, 2002

Dear Editor:
     Your Nov. 6 story on how the New York Post is taking readers away from the Daily News is a portrait in journalistic inaccuracy, far below Media Life’s usual standard of excellence.
   For one thing, you state that the rivalry “really heated up two years ago when the Post lowered its newsstand price to 25 cents.” According to your report, this prompted the Daily News to respond “by launching a free afternoon edition, the Daily News Express, but folded it a year later.”
   Search your memory and you’ll realize that the launch of the Express by the Daily News came first and that it sent the Post into utter panic and prompted them to slash their newsstand price. 
   What’s more, the reason the Daily News folded Express, which had been distributed at major transportation hubs in Manhattan and Brooklyn, was that post-9/11 security precautions made delivery impossible.
   Once the Post realized that it could sell its paper more successfully at a quarter, a stunning exercise in money-losing publishing, it stuck with this price for one apparent reason: Maybe, just maybe, it could gain enough cheap circulation to achieve parity with the Daily News and begin competing with us on the advertising front. 
   Maybe. But meanwhile the Daily News continues to run three times the ad pages the Post runs for the simple reason that we work for our advertisers and the Post doesn’t.
   As for the Post being up 10.5 per cent in the Sept. 30 ABC audit and the Daily News being down 2.5 per cent, try this explanation on for size: In the comparable post-9/11 period, the Daily News, because of its incredible editorial coverage, registered a series of million-a-day sales. 
   Even at its near-giveaway price of a quarter, the Post had no such success. That we were down only 2.5 per cent against such a formidable performance represents a magnificent achievement for the Daily News and is reflective of why we outsell every newspaper, including The New York Times, in the five boroughs.
   You suggest that the circulation losses we are incurring are “mortifying” for the Daily News. 
   In truth, the only thing that’s mortifying us is that a respected news medium like Media Life would inadvertently mislead its readers into believing that this is the case.
   Everyone has come to expect more from you, just as readers and advertisers expect more from the Daily News than from the Post.

Les Goodstein,
President and Chief Operating Officer
Daily News 
New York

The editor responds: The sequence of events recounted in our story was indeed wrong. As Media Life reported at the time, the decision to launch the Daily News Express, announced in August 2000, preceded the New York Post's cover price reduction. Media Life regrets the error.

Arrghh!  #&^!#@ the record industry

                    Nov. 5, 2002

Dear Editor:
   The RIAA has a flackmeister second only to the MPAA's. (Nobody beats Jack!). (Web Shorts: Online music sales show drop)
    Maybe online CD sales are down because online no longer offers a benefit. Check prices for new releases and you will find the chain discounters now easily undercut online prices. 
    So what's the benefit of buying online?
    CDs released this week are running $10.99-11.99 at Kmart, Wal-Mart, Target, BestBuy, CircuitCity, etc. Tough for an e-com retailer to match those prices because they can't pick, pack and ship for 5-10 percent of the sell price (i.e. equal to the local sales tax) and still make a profit. 
   Nor can they match the "buy today, play today" aspect.
   As for the overall decline in sales, the RIAA and the industry shrug off the weak economy and lack of real hits in favor of blaming Napster, Kazaa and CD burners for their woes.
    My survey sample (*) says: "There aren't as many CDs worth buying as there used to be. Who wants to buy a whole CD for one or two good songs? And they keep playing all this nasty stuff on the radio..."  
   Forty-fives may be gone but the basic concept has taken on a new life as .mp3 files. Too bad the RIAA and the labels haven't figured it out. 
   Or don't want to...
 (* Son (23), May 2002 college grad, daughter, 19, college freshman, and their friends.)

Davis Stewart
New York

HR pinheads and older media people

    Nov. 4, 2002

Dear Editor:
Lorri Hromas's letter to the editor concerning the lack of jobs for experienced media people should be required reading by all the clueless pinheads who work in HR and perpetuate the myth that experienced people won't be happy in lower level positions.  

Roy Moskowitz
Reciprocal Results 
New York

Let's rethink needs of older media people

31, 2002

Dear Editor:
  Having bounced around ad agencies and media departments for some 18 years now, I find it hard to understand why everyone assumes older, more experienced professionals won't consider a lower salary in order to find a job (Older media folks face hard job times: Workplace: Hiring's up only for young 'uns. Time to quit biz?).
Where is it written that once someone attains a certain salary level, or job position, they are never willing to accept less? 
It sounds as though ad agencies and media companies aren't willing to take the chance they'll get turned down by experienced job applicants because they aren't offering what these people have lost. 
What's a few no's when ultimately you'll find a yes and get the experience clients deserve?
Three times now I've taken a lower salary/job position when I wanted to change jobs. All three times I have been amply rewarded in time, especially when business was good. 
If companies are worried these employees will not be happy with their "reduced" circumstances, they need to rethink.  
This is a career people are happy they chose. Unlike many professions, where you hear people say they are just in it for the money and are waiting to have another life, media people love what they do. 
We work with people who are happy to be here. Big salaries are great, but just working in the business for a reasonable salary is enough for some people. 
Companies should start interviewing the available talent and making them job offers despite their past salary/job position. It is the only way these companies can provide the quality product they've promised their clients and the only way the next generation can truly learn from those in the know.

Lorri Hromas
Media Director
marcom advertising
(Former broadcast director
western international media, 
now initiative media)

Real reason senior media people have it tough

31, 2002

Dear Editor:
   I read this piece (Older media folks face hard job times: Workplace: Hiring's up only for young 'uns. Time to quit biz?) and it was interesting, but it seemed to overlook one of the key reasons why senior people aren't finding jobs in media: The function has always been viewed as "back office," to be staffed with the least expensive, i.e., most junior, people available.
    Now that the congloms are under enormous profit and market pressures, I doubt that they'll hire senior people ever again.
   Clients will suffer (as usual), but as the last paragraph aptly notes, “I don’t think anyone at the top is happy about how they are doing business right now, but they don’t have a choice."
    As a matter of fact they do have a choice, but it would be at the expense of their bonuses, so it isn't going to happen.

Bill Huey
Strategic Communications

Good riddance to 'girls club'
30, 2002

Dear Editor:
   Glad this awful show is cancelled (Fox spikes Kelley's 'girls club'Television: Quick end to critic-trashed legal eaglette series) .  
   How on earth could the show possibly have cost $1.7 million per episode?  No one was on it who would have gotten a large salary. The sets were static.  
  We're in the wrong end of the business!  Anyone can write bad stuff.
Martha Sheridan
Atlanta, GA

AOL's pop-up doubletalk
28, 2002

Dear Editor:
   I read with interest Toni Fitzgerald's article entitled Demise of pop-ups, coming real soon: New media: Stampede kicks in as sites noose pesky ad format.)  
   On balance, the article was a good one, however, let's be clear in regards to America Online.  
    A moratorium on pop-ups?  Not exactly.  
   What AOL's press release communicated was that they were stopping the sale of pop-ups but that they plan to honor commitments to existing advertisers.   What appears to be a movement to give their subscribers what they want is really a clever  PR ploy to placate their customers and cajole them into believing that pop-ups really going to go away.  A half truth.
   When read carefully, one sees that AOL is really not committed to ridding itself of pop-ups.   AOL ,while no longer selling pop-ups evidently will have no problem pushing them on their subscribers just so long as they're used to promote their own company or one of the other sibling companies.
     So while we applaud those companies that have elected to drop pop-up ads, let's be clear that AOL's announcement is just clever PR. 
      Is any one else out there tired of being prompted with a pop-up ad every time we go to sign off the AOL service? 
    I know I am.

David J. Brown
SVP/Director of Media Services
Marsteller Advertising
New York

Your Ethan Alter nails it
                                                                             Oct 1
8, 2002

Dear Editor:
   Ethan Alter's take on "RHD" is right on (Robbery Homicide Div.,' dark, doomed: First-rate CBS copper far bleaker than 'CSI' model).
    Good and thoughtful TV reporting.

Allan Priaulx
Markham/Novell Communications, Ltd.
New York

MSNBC just doesn't get it
                                                                             Oct 1
6, 2002

Dear Editor:
    Your analysis is right on (For MSNBC, back to the drawing board, Expect more changes as makeover sputters.) 
    Uppermost, they don't get it. The DC area sniper is a story they should be all over, but they have studio folk talking--talking when they have a zillion NBC people covering the story on the scene. Imus more than anyone else on MSNBC gets NBC journalists to talk almost off the record which is fascinating. 
    Putting Donahue in Jersey in a little studio is like having a gourmet chief work in McDonald's.  He needs an audience. Moreover, Donahue admitted during a Katie & Matt interview that he doesn't like to call people getting them on the show (Dah?). This interview was on the heels of a similar interview with Al Roker.
    It sure doesn't help you fix MSNBC. They have the strongest cadre of affiliates and don't use them either. 
   In other words, for G.E. and NBC, MSNBC is a pimple on the ___. This is a a fascinating thing. Even with the resources of NBC, the No. 1 network news broadcast in the a.m. and p.m., and having the No. 2 web site, they can't figure out cable.

Ann Arbor

What's really wrong with 'West Wing'
                                                                             Oct 1
5, 2002

Dear Editor:
    Heidi Vogt wrote a very good article ('West Wing' is heading south, Mon Dieu! At hands of 'Bachelor' too! Good grief.)
I don't think it's time to panic about "The West Wing." It's a strong show and even my conservative pals watch it. Heidi's article didn't refer to the specific cells within the demo that tuned out "WW" for 'The Bachelor' but I would venture it was F 18-49, which would make sense. 
   What "WW" has to watch out for now is how much more of a decline will occur after Rob Lowe leaves the series later this season. He was part (some say all) of their hunk quota.
   I think NBC can live with second place though. Like Heidi's article mentioned, it's a different mindset between these two shows. If I were at NBC selling "WW,"  that's a key point I'd point out to advertisers.

Bob Jenkins
RLJ Communications
Chevy Chase MD

What's really wrong with 'West Wing'
                                                                             Oct 1
5, 2002

Dear Editor:
  I saw your article on 'The West Wing" ('West Wing' is heading south, Mon Dieu! At hands of 'Bachelor' too! Good grief.) and have to comment on the lack of NBC promotional support behind the show. 
    I am an avid fan of the show and have been watching it from the beginning. However, I did not even know when the season premiere was going to be on. 
   Why ? Two reasons.
   Number one, I am a Tivo owner and don't watch live television anymore.
    Number two, I did not see one ad anywhere reminding me of the premiere of the season for the show. If they can't get their core audience to the show, how are they going to maintain or grow their numbers ?
   I don't think they have to sack the President, or change much of the cast, to keep it fresh. There will always be plenty of current events to pull from to write a very good show. 
    What they need to do is reach their audience more effectively and more often and remind them that the show is on.
   Also, since they appear to be competing against reality programming, why not try a reality spin of their own and have "President" Bartlet appear in "newscasts" in other time slots ?

Brian McFadden-DiNicola
Associate Director
Paradysz Matera Digital
New York

Writer needs a ratings lesson
                                                                             Oct 1
5, 2002

Dear Editor:
   I am amazed that Ms. Vogt's reporting on "West Wing" ratings perpetuates the shallow and misguided view of measuring audiences. 
   Even the most junior media buyer understands the importance of demographic and psychographic audience characteristics as critical criteria for reaching a target audience. 
   Perhaps she hasn't noticed the lack of fast food advertising on "West Wing" or maybe she feels a guest shot by the" Osbornes" would remedy the lack of household ratings relative to "Bachelor."  
   A veteran ABC Television sales exec, I used to ask the question when agencies based their budgets on household ratings:  "What kind of households does your client want to reach;  ranch, colonial or perhaps some lovely Tudors?" 

Chris Westerkamp
Apogee Consulting
Los Angeles

Much longer life for paper checks, thank you

                                                                             Oct 1
5, 2002

Dear Editor:
    To paraphrase Mark Twain, Media Life Magazine's October 9 report on the death of paper checks is greatly exaggerated. 
   Paper checks will be with us for a long time because the economics of shifting to digitized checks have not been demonstrated by the Federal Reserve or any other advocate. Legislation to create the legal framework for digitized checks is advancing based on the blind faith that electrons are always cheaper than paper.
   Ironically, this legislation would authorize paper "substitute checks,"
which could be produced from the digitized version of the original check for presentment to the bank on which the check was drawn.
     Instead of eliminating paper, this innovation would increase paper in the U.S. payments system -- hardly a way to save money or trees.
     Much of the case for getting rid of paper checks is based on eliminating check transportation, but that cost is much less than the several billion dollars a year MLM reported. The Federal Reserve recently estimated annual check transportation costs of $200-$250 million per year. 
    Even if paper check volume dropped by half, much of that cost would remain because of the substantial fixed expense of maintaining an overnight delivery capability for the remaining checks.
   Digitizing a check, only to reproduce it a few hours later in another city as a paper substitute check, entails substantial technical problems which will add to payment processing costs. A major supporter of digitized checks, the Electronic Check Clearing House Organization, acknowledge these technical problems in a letter to the Federal Reserve last year. 
   Finally, not only are consumer groups protesting the digitized check legislation, but so too are business groups concerned about increased check fraud.
   While the United States is steadily moving towards electronic payments, the paper check remains a proven and low-cost way of making many types of payments.

Kimberly Hoover
Counsel to AirNet Systems,
 a provider of overnight check transportation
Washington, D.C.

Leave NBC's Thursday to experts
                                                                             Oct 1
2, 2002

Dear Editor:
   Brilliant Robin! (How NBC can fix Thursday night Television: Bold moves are needed. Move 'Friends' to 9 p.m. )
   Now all you have to do is convince CBS to sit there and twiddle its thumbs and not counter-program to keep the time period match-ups exactly the same. Or even worse watch "Survivor" drive the final nail in the coffin of teetering "ER" at 8 p.m.
   NBC is so stupid; why are they paying Zucker a gazillion dollars when there are guys like Robin who can come up with NBC's Thursday night Salvation just like that--and probably do it for half the money?
     Now, any suggestions for Fox's Friday night Robin?

Dave Woodall
Media Director
Yakima, WA

Rocking Robin, right on
Oct 12, 2002

Dear Editor:
    I think this is very clever and well thought out and would do better than the current line-up and stop the hemorrhaging until NBC development can properly fill the gaps. 
   I hope enough media buyers and planners forward this to NBC.

Bobbi Blair
Santa Monica

Sorry, John Durham
                                                                             Sept. 12, 2002

Dear Editor:
    Message to John Durham: I like the honest demonstration of frustration in your column. But you can't blame the cat for chasing the mouse. That's what they do.
    Media types can't be blamed for seeking the best deal. That's how they're evaluated.
    Your beef is really more that there hasn't been acceptance of the efficacy of online advertising. No money in the market leads sellers to desperate measures. And, its the sellers who make performance buys available.
    Sorry, but its not going to change without more pain (shakeout) and/ or change in the basic model.

Bob Rose
Partner/ Director of Media and Marketing
Seiter & Miller Advertising
New York

Right on, John Durham
                                                                             Sept. 11, 2002

Dear Editor:
  John Durham's commentary yesterday on the pay-per-performance issue for on-line advertisers  (Performance-based thievery, let's call it: Pay-for-clicks proponents are guilty of shoplifting) strikes a very familiar "history repeats itself" chord.
   As the media matures, smart media pros will recognize the value in branding and CPM buys on the web.  The marketplace originally guided buyers to a 70/30 split for performance vs. CPM buys. 
   That will likely come to pass, but not until this economy--which  does have a significant impact on the way we buy--starts swinging in a more confidently positive direction.
    The approach by agencies, for now, is to take the path of least resistance, even though that path leads the client to the wrong place.
     My advice, John: Stick with it. You'll come out on top.

Paul Benjou
Director of Client Services
Mediaplex, Inc / AdWare
New York

Trivializing 9/11
                                                                             August 20, 2002

Dear Editor:
    With all due respect to your opinion about not forgetting the blackout of '77, you trivialize a world event that could be considered the most catastrophic in U.S. history, let alone NYC. ("Lest we forget the blackout of '77/ Commentary: Lessons from watching people behaving badly," by Richard Laermer)
       While not everyone physically viewed our city crumbling, we were ALL affected by 9/11 as New Yorkers and as U.S. citizens.
   A comparison to 9/11 is not a justifiable comparison. This appears to be controversial for controversy's sake.
   Your is a disappointing view of NYC.

Katie Greco
Associate Media Director.
New York

The editor responds: The article was a commentary and as such reflected the author's viewpoint, not that of Media Life. But that said, I must agree with the letter writer that the argument presented in the commentary suffered mightily from a lapse of logic.

Wallenstein attacked, again
                                                                                August 5, 2002

Dear Editor:
    Question: Does Andrew Wallenstein have any idea that Def Leppard WAS NOT A GLAM-HAIR-LIPSTICK WEARING band???
   If he ever really followed the band, he would have realized that the statements he made not only about Def Leppard but about the VH1 movie, "Hysteria," were not only biased by his opinion of what music is supposed to be about but also NON-FACTUAL IN NATURE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Please do us readers a favor and do not insult our intelligence by having some, over 50, bald, fat, moron write columns about which he has no idea what he is writing about!
Thank you for your time and attention!

Dianna Pisano

Misleading study
                                                                                August 2, 2002

Dear Editor:
  I read and enjoyed today's article titled "As content Improves, more folks are paying." 
   However, I was disappointed with the attached ranking of "Top 25 Sites Ranked by Paid Content Revenue," compiled by comScore Networks in association with the Online Publishers Association.
     According to comScore's methodology, they utilize a "proprietary technology network," tracking SSL transactions among its panel of 1.1 million U.S. internet users.
    This study fails to take into account the fact that a significant portion of purchases for Economist.com subscriptions are offline transactions. 
   Also, due to the international appeal of Economist.com, a significant percentage of our subscription revenue is from non-U.S. customers.
    The title of the ranking is misleading, since it does not mention that this is a US-only study (although the study clearly defines itself as "Online Paid Content - U.S. Market Report").
    The title of the study itself is misleading and seems to have been misinterpreted. By "Online Paid Content," they seem to be referring to people transacting online for content, which is what their methodology supports.  However it is easy to see where people would think this refers to total subscriptions for online content sites.
     In your July 11th article, "Yes, folks will pay for content," you published the "Top 25 Subscription Content Publishers" from the Intermarket Group. We were ranked 19th overall.
    This ranking more accurately reflects Economist.com's position as a market leader in subscription-based content. The ranking published today fails to take into account both online subscriptions transacted offline, and non-U.S. subscriptions. I hope that you may consider this and look forward to reading your next article.

David Grossman
Marketing Executive
New York

Bark! Woof!
                                                                              July 31, 2002

Dear Editor:
    I've been reading Bark! for several years and was tickled to see Jeff Bercovici's well deserved write-up.

Paul Benjou
Director of Client Services
Mediaplex, Inc / AdWare, Inc
New York

The lonely lot of liberals
                                                                                    July 23, 2002

Dear Editor:
  I read your really fun story on the Lone Liberal.  Incidentally, the LL wears a mask because he, like all liberals, is loath to admit it or to truly be identified as a liberal.

Tom McAlevey
Tulsa, OK

Doubtful value of  the PPM
                                                                                    July 23, 2002

Dear Editor:
Re: "More folks listen to more radio" (7/23/2002 in Media Life Magazine by Kevin Downey).
   Kevin!! Did you write this article directly from Arbitron's press release?
   Any media planner worth his/her salt knows that the PPM is a nefarious instrument that will, no doubt, cause the over-reporting of radio ratings.
   Why? Because coming into contact with a radio signal does NOT translate into actual listening.
    Example: You and I catch a taxi at 8:45 a.m. at Central Park South.   We have a stimulating conversation all the way to Times Square. 
   Surprise! Even though you are a loyal Don Imus listener (WFAN/660 AM), your PPM registered WSKQ/97.9 FM. 
   Why? Because the cab ride took more than sevenminutes, and that's what the taxi driver had on his radio.
   Advertisers on WSKQ have virtually no chance of reaching you effectively with their spot schedules, but you just got counted in WSKQ's unduplicated audience (cume) anyway.
    You get the picture, I'm sure.

Nancy Haynes
Communications Director
Collins, Haynes & Lully Advertising
Charlotte, NC

The real cost of webcast music

July 22, 2002

Dear Editor:
Have you ever had one of those moments when you see something on paper and say, "Wait a minute, that can't be right!"
     I had one of those moments when I read about KPIG shutting down its webcasting services due to the ".07 cent per song" royalty fee.
   For those of us who work in the broadcast business but don't deal with royalties on a daily (or even lifetime) basis, the numbers just didn't add up for $3,000 in month royalty expenses for KPIG given .07 cent per song.
   On a straight-ahead basis, at .07 cent per song, KPIG could readily expect to pay about $8.73 in royalties per month (approximately 12,840 songs/month times .0007). That's a far cry from $3,000 a month. 
  What isn't being said?
   With a little due diligence, you can always find the missing piece to the puzzle that brings it all together.
   Essentially, for the laymen among us, a royalty is not due for each song played by a webcaster, it is due for each time one person hears one song played by the webcaster. If 1,000 people hear that last song you played, you owe 70 cents. So, it is more accurate to say that webcasters owe .07 cents per song per person listening rather than .07 cent per song.
   I now see what the fuss is over. Thank you!

Laurin Willis
Client Research Services
WFofR, Inc.

History lesson for Jeff

July 2, 2002

Dear Editor:
I find myself uncharacteristically compelled to comment on Jeff Bercovici's recent article:  "Send Jann an Issue of Blender/ A likely model for Rolling Stone as it revamps."
 Jeff, as you attempt to dissect the family tree of music and lad magazines, I just couldn't help but offer a brief history lesson.  I hope you'll then see past the recent American imitators that you mistakenly credit as original and set your sights on the truly innovative British magazines that inspired them.
     Your article says, "When Needham talks about creating 'multiple points of entry on each page' and establishing an 'aggressive and forceful' newsstand presence, he is, in effect, describing a music magazine that already exists."  That's correct, except the magazine that already exists is not Blender, it's called Q.  
   Not only is Q the template that Andy Pemberton used for Blender, but Q has also enjoyed a sizable cult following in America among music listeners who have been buying it on American newsstands for nearly 15 years.
    Then Pemberton says, "Without blowing our trumpet too hard, we've come along and said, 'Well, you can present the information like this, and it doesn't necessarily compromise what you're doing.'  It just makes it more enjoyable." 
  He apparently knows that if he DOES blow his trumpet too hard, someone may notice that he's falsely attributing Q's innovations to Blender.  He's obviously figured out that it's easier to let you (and perhaps some of your readers) blow his trumpet -- secure in the knowledge that you have no familiarity with quality international magazines.
    Are you not aware that Pemberton is an ex-editor of Q?  (He passed through Q's ranks long after Q's editorial voice and visual style were developed.) 
You may also not realize that Pemberton reluctantly acknowledged that he copied Q's editorial and visual style in an interview with former Inside.com writer Simon Dumenco.
     Next, you observe, "What makes Blender fun isn't so much the ubiquitous lists, sidebars and charticles as imaginative features like 'Useful Tips from the Stars' and 'Dear Superstar'."
    Have you ever visited an international newsstand, Jeff?  If you had you might recognize that 'Dear Superstar' is Blender's imitation of Q's long-running 'Cash For Questions.'
    I could go on to point out several other Blender column concepts that are lifted directly from Q's pages (not to mention their entire reviews section, including the ratings system), but I won't.
    Allow me one last observation (you are, after all, writing for "public" consumption).  Your myopia seems to extend beyond the music titles to the lad mags, as well. 
     I seem to recall more than a few articles where you identify FHM as a Maxim imitator.  In fact, FHM launched in Europe in 1994, a full three years prior to the launch of Maxim.  
   In a now-familiar Dennis Publishing strategy (i.e., Blender imitating Q), once Dennis witnessed FHM's unrivaled success in Europe (and now in 15 countries worldwide), they launched Maxim and eventually brought it to America.
    If imitation IS the sincerest form of flattery, then Dennis Publishing has flattered Emap to no end.  By the way, are you on Dennis' payroll?
    I've worked in the advertising/media planning/print world for over 14 years now, and am a huge fan of magazines.  Despite my years of industry experience, though, I do not purport to be a magazine expert such as Samir Husni.  But it doesn't take an expert like him to spot erroneous information.  In the interest of journalistic integrity, as well as your professional reputation, I would think you'd take it upon yourself to get your facts straight before putting them out there for all the world to see.

Shayne Ireland

Trouble with ad spending data

June 26, 2002

Dear Editor:
The problem with the reliability of any spending estimate generated by Competitive Media Reporting, including their regular reports given to subscribers to the service is what they use as cost benchmarks.  CMR uses rate card for print (who pays rate card, nowadays?) and if I'm not mistaken SQAD and other cost per point services for electronic media.  They don't account for the negotiability of individual media outlets.  
     This means two things.  CMR overestimates media spending considerably by using benchmarks without factoring in rate negotiation as a variable.  And unless two marketers are running the exact same schedule, CMR's spending reports have limited value as even a relative comparison tool (Despite spending the same benchmark amount, Company A's schedule may be intrinsically less expensive than Company B's, if A's media contains greater weight with properties discounting more).

Roy Moskowitz
Reciprocal Results

Not the first woman rock editor

June 24, 2002

Dear Editor:
  I was interested to read Jeff Bercovici's story about Sia Michel being the "first" woman to edit a national rock magazine.
    It'd be pretty bad if there hadn't been a woman in such a position until 2002. As it is, there were several before her.
   I became editor of Creem Magazine, the national rock magazine, in 1978. But you could make a good argument that I wasn't the first woman to edit a rock title; Gloria Stavers was the incredibly well-known editor of 16 Magazine way back in the early to mid '60s. That beats out Ms. Michel by 40 years.
   My Creem colleague Bill Holdship pointed out the incredible feat you ascribe to Ms. Michel, and we both had a good laugh.

 Susan Whitall

A nasty word or two for Wallenstein

June 22, 2002

Dear Editor:
    It's been a year or so but I just wanted to comment on Andrew Wallenstein's review of my now-defunct talk show, "A.J. After Hours."
    Whoever this is....and I hope you have a direct line to Andrew: Can you please tell him to go fuck himself. Thank you so much. 
   I can't wait to meet the pussy out one night and smack his mouth while we discuss his pussy comments about my show.
What is it, Andrew? Does your girlfriend think I'm cute? Or, worse even, does you boyfriend think I'm cute?
    Please, please, please tell him to go fuck himself or if he has any balls to please email me directly. Fuckin assface.


AJ Benza

In defense of SmartPlus

June 21, 2002

Dear Editor:
       I enjoyed reading Mr. Everitt's June 18 article "At last, cheaper media buying software." However his reference to our company, Marketing Resources Plus (formerly Media Management Plus). might lead your readers to believe that we do not serve small agencies. 
    Our media buying system, SmartPlus, is used by over 1,000 advertising agencies ranging from $2 to $400 million in media billings. We scale our license fees based on agency size, the number of markets they buy and the number of workstation they use. An entry level system can start as low as $3,000.  
    Although nearly all of our clients subscribe to ratings, some do not.  SmartPlus can operate as a standalone buying system or interface with popular media planning and agency accounting systems.
    With SmartPlus our clients start at any size and grow at their own pace
without the time and cost of relearning a system. Some of our clients have
grown with us for over twenty years.
Thank you.

James Paull

Marketing Resources Plus (MRP)
a VNU, Inc. Company

Right on regarding BO $s

May 21, 2002

Dear Editor:
   I am in total agreement with the author about the absurdity of using box office figures in estimating anything but a movie's financial success. The gremlin known as inflation distorts the use of gross receipts as a benchmark to compare the popularity of film from not only different eras, but even from year to year. What I would really like to know is how many fannies are in the seats. How does "The Attack of the Clones" compare with the original "Star Wars" in terms of movie goers actually paying to see it in movie theaters and how each ranks among all time blockbusters in audience quantity, not box office? To put things in perspective a movie released in an era of $10 movie tickets needs only 5 percent of the audience of a movie released when the price was 50 cents to equal its gross sales. Why doesn't someone publish audience figures? 

Roy Moskowitz 
Reciprocal Results 



Very silly 'Battlebots' lawsuit

May 14, 2002

Dear Editor:
Hello, I just wanted to take a few seconds and go on record to say that whoever took the advice of the moronic spin doctor/legal advisor that instructed the creators of "Battlebots" to sue Bud Light and DDB for the creation of the Superbowl commercial, should be run down by rabid goats. While I'm guessing that since the suit is to force Bud Light not to run the spots instead of for monetary gain, this was strictly a publicity stunt.....probably covered up by some whining story about intellectual property.
   Truth be told, the creators of "Battlebots" should have kissed the ass of the ad director that created that spot and sent a basket of cash to the client that approved it! That 30-second spot probably did more for the "Battlebots" brand and ratings than all of the billions of cross-network promos Comedy Central has run over the past year or so combined. The creators should have taken it as flattery that a gigantic advertiser like Bud Light thought enough of their creation to include it in a campaign that undoubtedly has cost them a pretty penny......probably more spent than any promotion that "Battlebots" will ever be likely to see again.
    If the creators had half a brain, they would have contacted Bud Light immediately to propose a series of commercials including "Battlebots." I know that the original one was great.....every guy I know loves it and they both have similar targets. Guys that like beer and smashing things up. So, Kudos to the creators.....they really hit one home with this one.

Jessica Acker
Media Planner


Youth appeal of Olympics

Feb. 12, 2002

Dear Editor:
    The NBC O&O's and key Affiliates are pushing the Olympics hard. Additionally, after work on Sunday I stopped into a graduate-student-type pub here in Ann Arbor, and you would think the Super Bowl combined with University of Michigan/Michigan State Basketball was on the TVs--very involved and very exciting audience for X-Game-type events.

Louis P. Kasman
Ann Arbor, Michigan

Why we need Relix

Feb. 11, 2002

Dear Editor:
     Music industry executives love blaming Napster and similar services for anemic sales, but the current vapid lineup of boy bands and Britney Spears clones have more to do with it. Record company moguls seem to think that teenagers listen to the Back Street Boys or Britney, but it is eight-year-old girls that do.
     Teenagers wouldn't get caught dead listening to such uncool stuff (except for some musical nerds), the same way that former David Cassidy and Donnie Osmond fans renounced their former allegiance to these performers after they reached puberty during the heyday of FM rock.
    Teens have more disposable income to buy CDs than tweens, but they won't buy the TRL pabulum fed to them.
    Putting marketing dollars behind the type of bands Relix covers would help revive a stagnant music industry.
    Teenage taste-makers would begin buying music again (these taste-makers have allowed performers with little or no commercial airplay to produce platinum selling albums and sell out concerts) and record sales and concert revenue would increase geometrically.

Roy Moskowitz
Reciprocal Results

Feb. 11, 2002

Dear Editor:
    Just read Jeff Bercovici's article on the "all new and improved" Relix magazine and couldn't agree with his perspective on jam bands more. Both the musicianship and the lack of trendy hype are becoming increasingly refreshing. I forwarded his article to five different people, all of whom are going to now check out a copy of Relix!

Christine Murray

'Port Charles' fallacy

Feb. 4, 2002

Dear Editor:
     Regarding the comments made by Felicia Minei Behr of ABC about reaching the young demographic in your February 4th piece on "Port Charles," this type of thinking is going to be the downfall of the media and advertising industries if they don't wake up soon to a few facts.
  The Baby Boom generation is very likely to be offended at the perception of being as set in their ways as their parents at the same age. The "Greatest Generation" didn't grow up in an environment filled with constant advertising messages and more brand competition than ever as the Boomers have.
     While the media gloats over the increasing numbers of Boomers who are getting the AARP letter every year, it ignores the fact that Boomers are better educated than their parents and have experienced far greater media exposure to more vehicles than their parents did. Cable TV is enjoying record penetration.
     Contrary to computer industry propaganda, Boomers own PCs, work with them and are on the internet. Unlike most of their parents, Boomers will not be content to sit by the fire in a rocking chair, using the same brands their parents used or even ones they used themselves when they were in the 18-34 age group. They have more choices in every aspect of their lives than their parents did and they will continue to exercise their freedom of choice.
     Today's 50-year-old is not the 50-year-old of 20 years ago. S/he is always learning to keep up and to get ahead. Many are starting new careers, getting advanced degrees, or opening their own businesses for the first time.
     The times we live in necessitate an open-mindedness previously thought to be the sole property of extreme youth. That means a higher incidence of brand trial and a greater propensity to consume new products than the previous generation.
     Considering also that people 50+ have greater disposable income than an 18-24 year old, it is foolish in the extreme to ignore this audience. Baby Boomers are just as likely to buy new cars, new furniture, appliances, and new food products as anyone younger. Ignore them at your own risk.

Sheila Clemett
Freelance Media Supervisor
New York, N.Y.

The real problems with online buying

Jan. 23, 2002

Dear Editor:
The reason why online media buying platforms for traditional media have not taken off (An online classroom for placing spot buys) is not because of the computer skill level of the buyers and sellers. Negotiations require give and take discourse.
    It not a matter of a media outlet listing rate card prices and the buyer accepting it, which is the only way an online buying system could work. And I'm sure the individual media companies would prefer a non-negotiated environment. But that's not what happens in the real world.
    Strong negotiators often need several conversations and proposals to receive a media offer that remotely meets their objectives. And strong negotiators deal with senior staff, not generic sales reps who have no authority to cut the deals they need.
    Some level of give and take can be achieved via instant messaging, but it would not be a time saver. Most people speak much more rapidly than they can type.

Roy Moskowitz
Reciprocal Results

Letters To The Editor from previous years:

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