Monday, September 21, 2009

Don't forget the bottom line

Watching last nights Giants-Cowboys game I couldn't help but laugh at the excesses of the new stadium in Texas. A massive TV screen. Exotic restaurants. Even go-go dancers on platforms, apparently a nod to the groovy 60's.

Oh yeah, the home team lost to my Giants.

My other hometown team, the Mets, also opened a new stadium this year, raving about the restaurants, the "rotunda" and the shopping experiences that were available.

Oh yeah, they forgot to put a decent team on the field.

Too often people lose sight of the bottom line. When fans shell out big money to go to a stadium, they do so to watch the game. Bells and whistles are nice, but I'd take grimy old Shea Stadium in a heartbeat over these new McStadiums.

Which brings us to the bells and whistles of a TV station. I can't tell you how many times clients have gone on interviews, then called me to rave about things like the building, flat screens on the set, and the technology.

None of that has anything to do with your career.

A while back I decided to rank the stations at which I had worked. I noted the two I liked the least were situated in the nicest facilities, while the two I liked the best were housed in buildings only standing because the termites were holding hands. My two best working experiences were in absolute dumps, but filled with incredibly talented people and supportive management.

In other words, the only thing that matters to you should be what a station can do for your career. Not their ratings, not the toys, not the pretty new editing systems.

Content is still king, and if you don't believe it just look at the declining viewership for local news. Local newscasts may look better than ever, but they're filled with mostly junk, so viewers aren't fooled by this video equivalent of junk food. Give them the steak, and spare the sizzle.

By the same token you shouldn't be swayed by the fancy trappings of any station. Always look at two things: the content, and the people working there. Without that, you'll get lost in the shuffle.

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