Howard Stern is off to satellite radio now and went out with a huge bang (or so it sounded like on CNN.com.). So the big question is whether or not this is going to bring satellite radio into the mainstream, and I'm not so sure about that. This will be a test to see if his fanbase was really that fanatical or if it just happened that he was conveniently on the radio during their morning commute and now they'll just listen to something else. Is twelve bucks a month plus the cost of upgrading the stereo in your car worth hanging onto a morning show that you just kind of like? I doubt it. So I think that Sirius will see an increase in subscribers but I don't think its going to be enough to usher in the age of satellite radio.
Also, I can't help but think about Family Guy when I'm thinking about this. The difference between the TV show and the movie that they released is actually quite pronounced. On the movie, because they weren't subject to FCC restrictions and could do whatever they wanted, they could just be as blatently offensive as they desired. Which is fine, I'm not one to be offended by offensiveness. I think the problem was that when they didn't have to worry about restrictions, they weren't forced to be as smart with their writing. So while the movie is funny, the TV show is much funnier and I think that can be attributed to the writers actually having the think harder, to get to the more clever ideas. It's easy to talk about shit and racial slurs all day, but its much harder to have to write those same kind of jokes in a way that will get past the censors and still be funny…
…which leads us back to Howard. I never thought he was very funny, apparently some people did, but I wonder if the Family Guy principle of funnier when under scrutiny will apply. Additionally, for the listeners that love Howard, I wonder how much of their enjoyment of his jokes stem from the fact that when he's talking about boobs they get excited that he's pushing the established rules for radio. Once he's allowed to say whatever he wants, will there be a level of excitement about his content that will be missing? You know, like when you turn 21 and drinking loses a little of the excitement factor. Time will tell my friend…time will tell.
Having an iPod at the gym has opened my eyes to just how drastic a soundtrack can impact your surroundings. Nothing has done it more than Radiohead though. There's something about Radiohead that makes people at the gym look creepy and futuristic. I guess it highlights the fact that we no longer have to use our bodies to stay alive, but because of that we have to simulate doing work to keep ourselves healthy. It's scary to think that we've become so incredibly docile that we actually have to take time out of our days to trick our body into thinking that it's doing work.
Anyone who has ever walked into a class to be met by one of the legends of their industry raise your hand. Last week we were greeted by the smiling face of Dan Wieden, of Wieden + Kennedy. This is the guy whose agency pretty much built Nike. All of that great Nike work that has been done over the years has come across this mans desk on its way to your eyeballs. We had a really informal question and answer session with him, and along the way the story of how the legendary "Just Do It" tagline came about was revealed.
Apparently it was nearing time to present some new work to the client, and they still didn't have an endline. It was then that two incredibly different people impacted advertising history without even knowing it.
There was a man executed by firing squad in Utah in 1977 by the name of Gary Gilmore. Gilmore murdered two people, and then impacted advertising history when asked if he had any last words. He responded with "let's do it." So one of the most recognized taglines ever could have been "let's do it."
Luckily for Nike, Nancy Reagan was telling kids to "just say no." The first lady's message was merged with the last words of a double-murderer and then Nike made a lot of money and high school football teams were motivated and fraternity event t-shirts were made.
Last Thursday I packed my iPod and met up with my friend Paul to take the Hokie bus down to Blacksburg, Virginia to watch Virginia Tech dismantle the mighty Eagles of Boston College. Watching a couple hundred people with nothing in common besides where they went to college meet in a park and ride lot to fill four buses for a four hour trek is an interesting thing. It reminded me of a conversation I had with a friend of mine who didn't attend a football school last month. She just didn't have a way to relate to the fanaticism that college football fans display week in and week out all season long.
College football is a curious thing. It can easily creep its way under the skin of even the most resistant to sports. After spending four years at Tech, I can assure you that there are no words to describe the site of women and hippies screaming at the top of their lungs at a football game. Girls who never watched a minute of professional sports in their pre-college life graduate with more than a degree, they transform into creatures of sport, fanatics who will stop at nothing to see their favorite team win a game, statistical guru's capable of delivering accurate predictions as to a games outcome. They transform into the best of sports fans. Then there's the little things that you wouldn't think of. When I was recently buying a bag, I defaulted to customizing it to be orange and maroon for Virginia Tech. I caught myself before I bought it, but it was kind of frightening to see the extent to which I've been programmed. Then there are rivalries. As a Virginia Tech grad and supporter, I can never, ever buy anything that comes in the combination of orange and blue. I like the colors just fine, but so do a few hundred thousand University of Virginia fans, thereby making that color combo off limits for life.
What is it that makes it so powerful? How do people become so passionate about a sports team that they will cry after a devastating loss or get in a fistfight with an opposing fan for insulting "his" team. Is it that the U.S. is so large that we need more localized affiliations to satisfy our nationalistic urges? In modern times, every person can have a personal army to do battle for bragging rights and amusement; a luxury afforded only to nobility in times gone by.
Well whatever. The game was a blast. We all got housed beforehand, spent a few hours with good friends screaming at the top of our lungs, and watched Tech win 30 to 10. We all slept with smiles on our faces on the bus ride home. Smiles that those who didn't attend football schools will never understand.