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Campaign of Distinction: It’s a New Day

In Depth: TV Week

By Debra Kaufman, Special to TelevisionWeek

As Meredith Vieira prepared to step into Katie Couric’s seat at “The Today Show,” NBC faced a kind of relaunch: same show, new faces.

“The campaign started with the line ‘It’s a new day today,’ which had two meanings,” said Frank Radice, NBC Agency’s executive VP of advertising and promotion. “One, it’s a new day because Meredith is coming, but it’s surely not a new program. And it’s a new day every day, which was the double entendre.”

When is a promo not a promo?

When is a promo not a promo?

When it’s content, stupid!


On-air promo people, the writers, producers, editors, sound, designers,

That Team, know how to tell a story in a compelling way, in the

shortest period of time on screen (and usually literally “in the shortest period of time.”)


A good 10, 15, 20,  30 or 60 second spot succeeds if it makes the audience want to

Watch more or do something (like change the channel, or think.)


Take away the tune in info and what you have (if it’s done right) is a

cool little piece of content.


It probably looks great, sounds powerful, and tells a story.


Aren’t those the things that content consumers crave?  (that and cats.)


So what passes for creative interstitials and promos on one platform can become content on another (with a little help.)


I’m not suggesting we just put promos on the stream, but I am saying, let promo people help you create that short form content better.


Right now there are awards for promos at the Emmy’s, and for decades, Promax-BDA has celebrated the jewels of television, the promos.


Soon they (the congratulation factories) will have to recognize short form content creation, beyond the 60-second spot,

as the perfect storm…when marketing and programming truly collide…before our very eyes.


It’s more than native, it’s more than integrated.


So I say, let the promo people help.  They can make it better.


And by the way, people are lining up already to watch promos.


Just look at the new Star Wars trailer.



Now that’s some good content!


I’m just saying!

If You Already Know Everything About Digital Marketing, Don’t Read This…

Wednesday, April 14, 2010 by Frank Radice

To make your business thrive you need to do more than just think new! Having a Twitter account and a Facebook page is good, but knowing what to do with them is better. Having an iPad and an iPhone app is good, but having ones that really fill a consumer need is better.

Traditional advertising has becoming increasingly inefficient, so how do you effectively reach your customers today without breaking the bank?

The Big Idea: Own Your Edge!

A THOUGHT FROM HERE: Frank Radice and David Foster at Promax|BDA 2010


promax_dfosteratbooth.jpgMy David Foster / PROMAX odyssey began when I started working with ON-AIR Pro™in January. I took a trip out west for a meeting with Sandra Alex and Jonathan Mickelson, the heads of Thought Development / ON-AIR Pro™, and a shoot for the company’s website and newsletter.

As the Creative Advisor, I was to representON-AIR Pro™ at PROMAX|BDA 2010. So my next meeting would be with their CEO,Jonathan Block-Verk, to see what he thought I might do at the conference in June.

Jonathan Block-Verk asked me to interview someone notable in music, TV, film and web. I suggested David Foster, one of the most successful composers, musicians, and entrepreneurs on the planet.

I had gotten to know David and his beautiful friend Yolanda through a mutual associate, businessman and songwriter Tim Blixseth. We vacationed together a few times in Mexico, where David and I played together and again when I played on a recording with Hugh Laurie’s “Band from TV” on a soundtrack for “House, M.D.” that David produced forNBC/Universal.

David Foster, Lester Holt (bass) and Frank Radice

Suffice it to say, I knew he’d be a killer guest for PROMAX/BDA 2010, so when I suggested him, both Jonathan Block-Verk and Sandra Alex (who also has a passing acquaintance with David from the music side of things) agreed!

So, I booked him!

It was decided he would be a keynote session on opening night. We called it “An Evening with the Hitman: David Foster.”


The event would include a special intro tape produced by Defintion6, followed by David and a grand piano with me on a tall stool (like Sinatra) on the main stage in the ballroom before crowd of a thousand or more eager attendees.

That morning we had a rehearsal. David sent his right-hand man (woman), Courtney Blooding, and his piano guy, Warren Huff (who, by the way, brought one of the celeb-signed Yamaha’s that benefited the David Foster Foundation to the tune of half a million dollars).

We went over the format with Jill Linderman, PROMAX|BDA’s General Manager, and arranged a later meeting with David in his room at the Marriott. Everything was going as planned—but things are never that easy.

The Definition6 piece “Inspiration”—a beautiful design by Jim Read and set to an original score—was made especially for the event as the premiere showing of http://www.Def6.TVwork for the first time to a big and targeted crowd. Although the piece didn’t play in its entirety (you could hear it on stage but not see it, and no one told me), Jill Linderman did play it later in the conference, just before “State of Our Art.”


Finally, David and I walked out, sat down, and started talking about inspiration and what inspires him. Then we showed a tape of him and the greats he works with—from Bocelli toMadonna, fromCeline to WhitneyMichael Jackson and more. He’s written and produced for the greats, and has the hardware to prove it: 15 GrammysEmmy’s—you name it, and he’s won it.


After that he proved why he was such a great communicator. He got up off the piano bench, walked to the edge of the stage, and engaged the audience in a way I had never witnessed at Promax.



He told stories about everything from his family(s) to his Foundation, from the greatest voices to the biggest divas. We talked about the state of the music business (he brought in the crowd participation here), we talked about the Internet (more crowd involvement), and then he surprised us all as he had Heather Porter, from the audience, a Manager at Fox Broadcasting, come up to show him she could sing. And she could! It was a Puccini opera of all things, and David knew it, transposing on the fly.

Some of the reaction on the Promax|BDA site and on my Facebook page ranged from, “The best session at the conference” to “I wanted to hear more.” That’s always the best way to end a session—leave them asking for more.

For me, this was the best way to do a presentation. One-on-one, with an engaging, and entertaining individual, someone who has a lot to say and can make it relevant to the audience, (and the time to do it right with Q & A at the end.)

David made it easy with his undeniable charm and talent. He augmented his stories by performing little pieces of the songs that made him rich and his wives very happy. He owned the stage. That made my job that much easier.

In the end, ON-AIR Pro™ sponsored one of the highlights of Promax|BDA 2010, and for me, one of the best interviews I have ever done.

Thanks again David, and thanks to Sandra Alex for having the faith to back me up on this.




athought-dfostatbooth.jpgFrank Radice, Sandra Alex, David Foster, and Jonathan Mickelson


A Word From the President of Thought Development / ON-AIR Pro™

I would like to jump in on Frank’s article to highlight one moment that meant so much during the ON-AIR Pro™-sponsored “An Evening with the Hitman: David Foster” session.

Sitting right behind me: the Los Angeles-based KCET on-air promotion team. Anyone who is a fan of public broadcasting knows that David has been hosting the “David Foster & Friends” specials on the Great Performances series airing on PBS stations across the country. At one point during his interview, David mentioned a new upcoming special in October and asked if anyone from PBS was in the audience. The KCET group clapped and cheered vibrantly.

The next day Tené Harris-Duckworth, Director of On-Air Promotions at KCET, and one of this year’s Promax|BDA Award Winners, passed in front of the ON-AIR Pro™ booth. I had met Tené many years back and took the opportunity to give her a hug and re-connect. We talked about theDavid Foster session, and two of Tené’s sentences stayed with me:

“The session was almost like a spiritual experience!”

“Now I have renewed enthusiasm for promoting the new upcoming David Foster PBS Special.”

Although the focus was music, the session provided INSPIRATION for Tené and the promo department at “infinitely-more” KCET!

Thanks, Jonathan Block-Verk and everyone at Promax|BDA for helping make this moment happen. And thanks to Frank Radice for his vision, energy and tenacity!

It was a delight to sponsor a session that was intimate, warm, and inspirational to all of those present.


Context is King?

Monday, October 4, 2010 by Frank Radice

While moderating a panel on “New Media” (I hate that phrase btw) at theWilliamsburg Film Festival (Willifest) earlier this month, one of the panelists, Larry Banks, Chairman of Film/Media Arts Department at Long Island University, said “Context, not content, is king.”



Context? Hasn’t content always been king? What happened?

Is Dr. Banks the only person to identify this shift? No, he’s not. Let’s take a look at what some notable people in the industry are saying about content versus context:

    • In a recent NY Post article (the real paper of record in this town), Scott Kessler, Tech Analyst for Standard & Poor’s said about the music industry, “Companies are focusing more on user experience and distribution rather than content itself, and that is an overarching theme, it’s probably not something compelling for content providers.” Ya think?
    • Ashkan Karbasfrooshan, guest writer for “TechCrunch” said, “The context—Facebook, Twitter, email—in which people are introduced to media and consume it is becoming more important than the content itself.” As this chart shows, 81% of discovered video content comes from the blogsthat people arguably already visit.



how videos are found online



    • “Context makes content relevant,” says Jeff Korhan of the blog NEW MEDIA & SMALL BUSINESS MARKETING. “If I give you information that is valuable, you will appreciate it, but possibly never use it. If I help you appreciate the value of that information by showing you how it works for me or someone like you, then the context makes it invaluable.”

Alrighty then! These folks have a definite point of view. It’s about relevance, placement and a set of circumstances that surrounds the content. But I have a different take on it.

On TV context can help spell success. News, sports and specials have built in context. Comedy can be topical and relevant (From “Cosby” and “Seinfeld” in the 80’s and 90’s, to the more recent “Modern Family.”). Dramas can show real “ripped from the headlines” relevance with programs like “Law & Order.”

In advertising, both traditional and non-traditional, context is very important. That’s what targeting is all about.

Film is experience-oriented, but context is always at play in any given compelling scene. But after a movie plays out in a theater, viewing trends show that on line viewing is often the place for the following runs. Now there is a second layer of context…the place you go to when you want another experience and the way-in is more-and-more, an App. That is a condition that is relevant to the event.

Whether you’re listening to talk radio in your car, reading a billboard in Times Square, looking at a blog that takes you to a piece of video, watching the “Today” show in the morning or “Letterman” at night, you are doing so in “context,”

But at the end of the day (I hate that phrase too), there is no reason to engage with any content regardless of the context if the storytelling isn’t strong.

So what does that say?

Maybe content, not context, is king!



NATPE 2011: The Rebuilding Year

Monday, January 31, 2011 by Frank Radice

The National Association of Television Program Executives Annual Event

 I’ve been going to the NATPE TV supermarket for years.

I remember a time when millions of dollars were spent on the booths, and lavish parties were thrown for the execs and the affiliates.

I also saw it lose ground to CES during the financial meltdown, and now I’ve seen the start of a comeback for NATPE as an event and a marketplace.

I’m told there were a thousand more attendees at NATPE this year over last.

67 countries were represented here and every major content provider globally seemed to be in attendance.

This year, they had online show guides to help navigate the sessions and the floor, a hash tag and TwitterFall, a Facebook presence, and lots of social media interactions…they just needed better access to the NATPE Wi-Fi on site.

The theme this year was “Content First!”

Some things I heard and learned on content distribution, international programming, video strategies, brand integration and connected TVs:


Netflix, HULU, and other new(ish) content rich platforms need to be viewed as alternative distribution methods, not competitors. Beth Roberts of NBCU says broadcasters need to rethink their approach to windowing feature content to avoid being overwhelmed by all the new platforms.

But traditional media still sees platforms like Netflix as foes, where content producers see it as its friend. The truth is it’s not going away, so everyone needs to play nice in the sandbox.

The mood overall was upbeat, as the advertising climate heats up again.

The international business was red hot according to my sources, and of course Latin American programming played a significant role here, with a large turnout from Univision, Telemundo and Televisa (not surprising in Miami)!

There was talk about the mainstay of Hispanic programming in the US Latino market- The Telenovela – being the best at serving the female demographic to the detriment of the male viewer. In other words, give the guys something more to watch as well!

Yahoo!, having lost the UGC battle To YouTube, is changing its video strategy to one of original video content.

Brand integration in programming was a big topic for the advertisers here. There was even a company on the floor pitching a software solution that inserts banners into video called SeamBI for seamless branding integration.

The talk about multi-screen TV consumption was still on a roll here, so that’s good news for interactive TVs (but I’m still not convinced. Get Glue and Twitter while watching a show already distracts me).

And one last thought. It was an honor to see two old friends, Dick Ebersol and Mary Hart join Regis Philbin and Gerhard Zeiler, all Icons of television, receive the Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Award from NAPTE. It truly was an inspiring event.



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