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Media Consultants are like a Flock of Seagulls

They Swoop In...
Shit On Everything...
And Leave You to Clean Up The Mess! 

        Have you ever wondered why there is a "Coverage You Can Count On" or "Dedicated, Determined, Dependable" or "First, Fast Accurate" station in every market?  Why, when you're on vacation, does this station looks just like the one back home?  
           Blame the Media Consultant Industry and their band of cookie cutter agents.  The likes of whom are usually great Marketing & Promotion Producers stolen away from the very same stations they are trying to help.  They are then brainwashed into the Media Consultant way of thinking.
Hell, if it works in  Peoria it's got to work here!
Who is the prime culprit of homogenized newscasts nationwide?  

Frank N. Magid & Associates
          Or "Maggot" as they are affectionatly known in the biz.  They are an outfit out of DesMoines, Iowa.  Now this is not a RANT focusing on just old Frank.  I've got a even beef with all of them.  I've seen them talk out of both sides of their mouth, from one book to the next.
         I've seen weak General Managers, Promotion Managers and News Directors cave to the whims of media consultants at every station I've worked at.  And heaven forbid if anyone calls them out on their errors.  I've tried!  They'll go behind your back to the GM and call you a poisonous anti-team player.
        Their main goal is to perpetuate their own existence. This is done by finding fault with something each time they visit or review your product.  The graphics need updating.  The music needs updating.  The anchor's hair is wrong.  This reporter is too fat or too skinny (this should be against the law, but it's discussed in secret meetings with management anyway, so who's gonna know).  The slogan or logo that has brand equity because you've been using it for 20 years, surprise, it needs to be changed too.  And of course changed  to one of their Focus Group researched and approved "Coverage You Can Crap On" slogans.  But why does this happen?  What is the reason behind all the churn?

It's called Market Driven Journalism:

Typical Consultant Driven Reporter Copy for Promotion
"I'm Action 4 News reporter (insert name here), and we're Working 4 You with an investigation that will shock you to your very core.  Count on us for Coverage of (insert what ever muckraking event here).   Tonight at 10 on Action News 4.  Dedicated, Determined, Dependable."

        Phrases like the ones used in the above promo copy find their way into the newscasts as well.  "Working 4 you at the local court house."  "Coverage you can count on, with this exclusive story."  "We're dedicated to bringing you dependable information from inside the local school board meeting."  And on, and on...  

        Forget what you learned in college about Journalistic Principles or Ethics.  But, that's how it goes in local television news today.  I should know, I'm guilty myself.

        Money taints the newsroom.  So do Meters, Diaries and Q-Ratings.  But I'll save those for another day.


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Bob F. Dowd is a 20 year veteren of television, marketing and advertising.  
He offers career advice and career coaching nationwide.