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At the intersection of Business, Law & Entertainment


Making A Lawyer Podcast: Talent Coaching Is A Serial Necessity

Because I have such a unique background – a couple decades leading radio stations and eight years as an attorney – I get asked about podcasting a lot. Here’s a question for you: as a podcaster, how are you going to stand out? In reality, that’s two questions:

First, how is your content going to stand out? Whether you’re talking to other lawyers or to potential clients, what do you have to say that isn’t already being said? Alternatively, how can you cover a well-covered subject in a way that cuts through the clutter, through all the other podcasts out there that may cover the same topic? Second, how are you going to truly reach your audience? Can you communicate your message in a way that will both keep your audience listening and cause listeners to retain your message? Radio programmers know this: it’s a lot tougher than it sounds.

Let’s talk about how much time you’ve devoted to becoming the lawyer you are today:

You Are 60% Banana: Surprisingly, This Has Ramifications For Your Career

That headline is not a joke. Our DNA is primarily plantain.

Now think about this: y’know that schlub you deeply regret having to work with, the one you have nothing in common with? You two share 99.9% of your DNA. (Don’t worry – you’re also 99.9% genetically similar to all other human beings – including [insert name of your favorite person ever here] – so things could be worse.)

Here’s the point: things are actually a whole lot more alike than they appear. You think you have next to nothing in common with them, but you’re 99.9% the same as the Pope, a Kardashian, a Trump, a Clinton, and that jerk who dinged your car in the parking lot and didn’t leave a note. Let’s pivot to showbiz.

Are You Telling ALL The Right Stories?

As entertainment professionals, we tell stories all the time. We spend most of our time thinking about the stories we’re going to tell to our fans, to the people who watch, listen to, or read the stories we create. We tend to spend less time thinking about all the stories we tell to our customers (whether that’s advertisers or, say, the producer who might buy our script), our coworkers/coperformers, our friends, and even ourselves.

With that in mind, let’s talk about the value of those other stories. Let’s learn about an independent minor league baseball team (meaning one that can sign whichever players it wants). Bear in mind that sports = entertainment; nothing more, nothing less. That’s why great athletes, with their extremely unique skills, make much the same kind of money that great actors and directors do.

Their story can teach you a lot about all the stories you tell.

Content Is Important, Relationships Are More Important

In entertainment, we like to talk about how we make “content”, and technically, that’s what we do. After all, content is a business word, and we’re in show business. The problem is that “content” is a totally non-emotional word, and emotion and connection are what make show business different from every other business.


Wrong. Emotion and connection are what makes the difference between success and failure in every business. (What motivates people to hire an accountant or stockbroker? Is it because they’re a great golfer? Nope. It’s because of that emotion known as the feeling of security that goes with knowing that somebody who you trust is minding your money.)

Here’s what makes showbiz different: most people don’t identify with their accountant. On the other hand, they tend to identify rather strongly with their favorite entertainers. Said differently, the emotional reaction you get from your financial adviser is focused on you – you feel secure because your money is safe or growing (at least you hope it is). The emotional reaction you get from entertainment is focused on the entertainer – you feel connected to that person, their performance and their, er, content.

Media Convergence Means Bundles Aren’t Just For Cable TV Any More

It was interesting seeing this blog post from this prominent venture capitalist who is a partner at this firm. The summary of the post is this: citing Amazon Prime and YouTube Red, he notes that entertainment businesses are creating non-traditional bundles, meaning that, instead of bundles of cable channels (your local cable company/satellite provider), audiovisual content (Netflix, etc.), or music (Spotify, Pandora, etc.) we’re talking about different types of content rolled into one diverse package, er, bundle.

Down the road, he predicts that Amazon and YouTube will add things like games and live sports to the mix. He also believes that others will enter the market, particularly mobile phone carriers. (And actually, Verizon Wireless has already started down that road with Go90.) Let’s connect the rest of those dots with the two words that are driving the new bundling: media convergence.

You Don’t Have To Steal This Book

If you like reading my thoughts on the future of media and entertainment, you’ll also be reasonably fond of the book I’ve written. Better still, you’ve got a few days to get it for free.

Yep, unlike my cousin Abbie Hoffman, who I’m not related to in any way that I’m aware of, you don’t have to steal my book. You can download it for the low, low cost of absolutely nothing through this Sunday, February 21st. (After that, it’s a wallet-draining $2.99, which is the price that Kindle Direct Publishing not-so-subtly suggested I attach to this world-changing tome, and who am I to argue with an algorithm created by Jeff Bezos’ minions?)

The bottom line is that, while I’m certainly looking forward to the tens of dollars that may well come my way thanks to this nifty creation, I’m a lot more interested in having you read what’s inside and, hopefully, pass it on to others as well.

You can find the book at

Mad Scientists Make Major Media Magic

Let’s talk about one of my favorite types of people: mad scientists.

In an era of massive change in entertainment and media, it is the crazed experimenters who will develop successful products, and you don’t have to be one solitary scientist sitting in your underground lair in order to cook up an exotic new compound that bubbles over into something powerful, though that’s often how great new ideas and products are developed.

In fact, you can be a big, presumably cumbersome corporate entity and still play mad scientist. Let’s talk about two of my favorite mad scientists of the moment.

You Can’t Be A Personality If You Don’t Let Your Fans Know You As A Person

I’d like to tell you a story about the sudden, complete transformation of a performer.

Once upon a time, I programmed a very personality-heavy radio station. While everyone else was shutting up and playing the music, we were aggressively getting in the audience’s faces with lots of personality. We also had record numbers for a radio station that had been around since the Johnson administration and we absolutely owned Men 25-54 in our market. Every talent on the radio station was very high-profile.

Except for my midday guy, who always said, “[My fans] don’t care about me.” He couldn’t have been more wrong, but I didn’t think he’d ever drop his defenses long enough to find out.

One sentence changed everything. Instantly. One day, he turned on the mic and said it.

Dear Television: Worry About Profit, Not The Other Guy’s Ratings

It’s been amusing to see the meltdown over the alleged outing of Netflix’s closely-guarded audience metrics. As someone who programmed radio stations for over 20 years, living and dying with new ratings data every single week, I can tell you that in our new media world, ratings don’t matter. Not really. (For related reasons that you can figure out on your own, something similar can be said for box office, by the way.) Oh, and the other guy’s ratings really don’t matter.

To borrow from Randy Newman, it’s money that matters. Or, if you prefer Diddy, it’s all about the Benjamins. If you’re a broadcaster, ratings certainly help drive revenue, but in the end, the relationship between ratings and revenue is not, and will never be, linear. The relationship between revenue and profit isn’t linear either.

In that light, ratings are window dressing for the ego.

The Revolution Will, In Fact, Be Televised…With Radio Simulcast…And An App

In 2016, the revolution is so far along already that you can watch it on “television” every single day. You can listen to it via “radio”. And, as (almost) always, there’s an app for that. You can read about the revolution on whatever digital doohickey your read news on instead of an old school newspaper.

The most amazing development to appear already in the new year comes from print. Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes is telling his next story, “Belgravia”, in serialized novel form…via an app. With the change in medium from printed page to digital app, “readers” will get a different experience, including audio, music, video, character portraits (including a character family tree) and maps of Belgravia.

For fans, that means they’ll receive a much more complex, and presumably engrossing, product than would come with a printed book. Do you realize what this means for professionals? It means jobs.