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Focus on: Proposed Sirius-XM merger – part two December 29, 2006

Posted by William Spear in >> Focus on ..., >> Out Basket.
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Included in the article titled “Post-modernism is the new black – How the shape of modern retailing was both predicted and influenced by some unlikely seers,” (The Economist; December 19, 2006) mass-market retailing is discussed in an era of endless market fragments.

The article presents London retailer Selfridges & Co. as a survivor and embodiment of the chaotic and interwoven nature of modern retailing. For a century, the company offered “… order, formality and stillness …” in its stores and nearly went out of business in the process. Selfridges, and others successfully navigating new markets, have tossed out their formality of the past and are building “new huge empires based around one niche”.

Perhaps that is another part of the message for Sirius and XM. In “Focus on: Proposed Sirius-XM merger,” (Lit Between the Ears; December 27, 2006) Sirius and XM were encouraged to develop compelling and differentiating portfolios of programming before merging the two firms. As markets continue their fragmenting into smaller and smaller niches, there is an audience of existing literate and economically empowered patrons to support radio drama on Sirius and XM.

Quoting The Economist:

’In “The Long Tail”, an analysis of the impact of the internet on the music industry, with wider ramifications, Chris Anderson describes the “shattering of the mainstream into a zillion different cultural shards”. The post-modern “fragment” becomes a “niche” and the mass market is “turning into a mass of niches”. “When mass culture breaks apart,” he writes, “it doesn’t re-form into a different mass. Instead, it turns into millions of microcultures which coexist and interact in a baffling array of ways.”’

Long live The Long Tail. Long live radio drama.

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Cellphones for the Radio Dramatist December 28, 2006

Posted by William Spear in >> News.
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Roy Furchgott’s article, “Cellphones for the Music Fan,” (New York Times; December 28, 2006) might have easily been titled, “Cellphones for the Radio Dramatist.”

Furchgott compares the ease-of-use and quality-of-music of the V3i from Motorola, the Walkman W810i from Sony-Ericsson by way of Cingular and the LG VX8500 Chocolate from Verizon. He also includes how the phones stack up against Apple’s iPod.

Also referencd in the article is the Fusic from Sprint, the MobiRadio service from MobiTV  and a 20-channel bundle from Sirius radio.

Certainly, music will drive the market acceptance of combination cellphone and music devices. MobiRadio and Sirius have a broad array of music to satisfy most listeners.

But as radio dramatists assess potential outlets, we should be talking with MobiRadio, Sirius and other service providers to be included. Cellphones playing music, or in our case, drama, is one more market for reaching listeners.

From over-the-air broadcasts to internet casts to satellite casts to cell casts, technology is helping us reach audiences.

Rock on.
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Focus on: Proposed Sirius-XM merger December 27, 2006

Posted by William Spear in >> Focus on ..., >> Out Basket.
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Satellite radio operators Sirius and XM have been generating press for their theoretical and analytical musings of a potential merger between the companies. Subscriber growth is slowing for both firms and neither firm is currently profitable.

More puzzling is the lack of a compelling or differentiating programming portfolio between the two or even with over-the-air broadcasters.

We support more outlets for a greater variety of radio offerings. A similar approach in television has propelled the programming of HBO and other cable companies into the top echelon of entertainment companies in the U.S.

However, the proposed Sirius-XM merger would be the combination of two firms which have yet to recognize the full and unique strengths and capabilities of radio versus other entertainment media.

To the Managements of Sirius and XM, pause before merging and assess what radio does, how it may entertain and inform, and recognize that every listener is an audience of one.

Then, maximize shareholder value by maximizing the listening experiences of all your audiences of one.


William Spear
Two Plus Plus Productions LLC

Editor and Publisher
Lit Between the Ears – Celebrating the Power and People of Radio Drama
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Merry Christmas from Lit Between the Ears December 25, 2006

Posted by William Spear in >> Out Basket.
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From the studios of Two Plus Plus Productions LLC and the offices of Lit Between the Ears:

May the Season bring the excitment of a gift with your name on it,
The wonder of a small child accepting a candy cane,
And the reverence of a simple hymn celebrating redemption and salvation.

From my house to yours, Merry Christmas.

William Spear

Publisher and Editor

Lit Between the Ears – Celebrating the Power and People of Radio Drama

Great Beginnings: Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar December 22, 2006

Posted by William Spear in >> Great Beginnings, >> Radio Drama.
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From February 11, 1949 to September 30, 1962, Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar aired on CBS. Dollar was a freelance insurance investigator who tossed silver dollar tips to bellhops and tight mysteries to his listeners.

Johnny Dollar was played by Dick Powell, Charles Russell, Edmond O’Brien, John Lund, Gerald Mohr, Bob Bailey, Bob Readick, and Mandel Kramer. The character worked mostly for Universal Adjustment Bureau and traveled to different locales for each story.

Each episode began dramatically, without fanfare, and set the tone for the taut writing and acting.

ANNOUNCER: (COLD) From Hollywood, it’s time now for Bob Bailey as …


DOLLAR: Johnny Dollar.


ANNOUNCER: Tonight and every weekday night, Bob Bailey and the transcribed adventures of the man with the action-packed expense account. America’s fabulous freelance insurance investigator …

DOLLAR: (BITE CUE) … Your Truly, Johnny Dollar.


The episodes ended only slightly more casually and relaxed. The day’s work was completed and Dollar was setting up the next segment.


ANNOUNCER: Now, here’s our star to tell you about tomorrow’s intriguing episode of this week’s story.

JOHNNY: Tomorrow ? well, sometimes the best laid plans can take a terrible beating when a lovely girl steps into the picture. Join us, won’t you? Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar.


ANNOUNCER: Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar, starring Bob Bailey, is transcribed in Hollywood. It is produced and directed by Jack Johnstone, who also wrote tonight’s story. Be sure to join us tomorrow night, same time and station, for the next exciting episode of Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar. Roy Rowan speaking.


Johnny Dollar came along in the earliest days of television. Whether by design or circumstances, television had some measure of influence on the series. The theme music, from 1955 and on, was Love Theme No. 1, from the MUTEL music service library. Dramatic and commanding, it sounds like scoring which would appear later in television police and detective programs.

The final episodes of Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar and Suspense mark the end of Radio’s Golden Era. When the last episode of Johnny Dollar aired on September 30, 1962 there would be no new network radio drama until CBS Radio Mystery Theater went on the air January 6, 1974.

Bob Bailey and the other actors continue to make insurance investigation a daring and action-filled career. Wonder who’s hiring?

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