500 Pound Gorilla

January 14th, 2000

For three years we’ve been trying to move the Network 40 Summer Games to another month.  Lake Tahoe is arguably one of the most beautiful places in the world, but in early June, it can get a little dicey.  The first year, it snowed the sunday after the The Games were completed.  The second year, it snowed three days before The Games began.  Last year there was a blizzard the week before The Games.  After three fantastic years, we managed to convince the people in Tahoe that record executives and radio programmers were nice people, would act accordingly and would bring no great harm to the environment or manmade structures. Last week, for the first time in history, South Lake Tahoe granted us a convention in August.  The most beautiful month in the world’s most beautiful place.  I was so excited that I prepared a wonderful soliloquy for The Network 40 Games IV (The Final Conflict) August 24-26 in Lake Tahoe. Nothing could be more important.

Then Ted Turner put his sex life in perspective, AOL and Time Warner merged and I decided to wait on the soliloquy.

Am I the only one who feels we’re out of control?  We’re spinning wildly into an Internet abyss where the future is so bright, we have to wear shades.  The only problem is we can’t really see.

That’s unnerving.

But it’s nothing to be afraid of it we have the talent to survive and prosper.  Years ago, I was taking my daughter through an amusement park.  She began crying because she was afraid to get on a ride. I told her she didn’t have to get on board if she was scared.  She frowned and scolded me.  “Dad, if you aren’t scared, it isn’t any fun.”

I’m having a blast.

The future of the Internet is now.  If there were any doubters, they all left the room this week.  AOL’s merger with Time Warner signals the end of the entertainment world as we know it.  A dream has become a reality and the only way to prevent it from becoming your personal nightmare is to strap yourself in, keep your arms and legs inside and enjoy the ride.

Bob Pittman, the innovative radio programmer and co-founder of MTV, is  one of the guiding hands that will steer this mothership into the millennium.  His counsel?  Forget radio and records as we know it.  There’s a new sheriff in town and his name is World Wide Web.

You can stop thinking about if records will be downloaded on the Internet.  Concentrate on when.  AOL, the company that petitioned against any particular concept of downloadable CDs, will now be leading the way in developing the technology and bringing it to the front page.

If I owned interest in a record store , I would get out now.  Retail outlets are in serious jeopardy.  AOL and Time Warner will lead the charge to toward online music purchasing and in the process, revolutionize the way we do business.  If you aren’t ready for the Internet, it doesn’t matter.  You can either ride the train or get run over.

And music isn’t the only part of our lives that will change.  The way we view and use television is going to change so drastically in the next couple years that the concept we now consider commonplace will be outdated before you can adjust the color.

No longer will you have to rush home for your favorite program.  You won’t have to remember to start the VCR. (Does any normal person really know how to get that flashing 12:00 off the LED?) All images will be stored by your Web TV.  Play back the whole thing or bits and Pieces whenever you have time.

Many see this merger as the initial hard step of the Internet actually affecting our lives in a tangible way.  Those who look at the computer as something to be afraid of will miss the boat.  How we use the information and services available will not affect our lives adversely, but will give us more time to enjoy life.  The computer and Internet access will allow us to use information and technology to make our lives better and less hectic…not more so.

If the rest of you think you’re safe, get ready.  This 500 pound gorilla is headed your way.  Your company will be sold by the end of the year.  Dot com companies that have been selling their future are now buying the real programming that makes that future a reality.  The time for the ostrich syndrome is over.  Pull your head out of your ass and get on board.  If you don’t know about it…find out.  You’ve got one choice: you can either be part of the future or part of the past…part of the solution or part of the problem.

It’s going to be an interesting year.  Now that I think about it, this is the perfect time to make your plans for the Network 40 Summer Games IV (The Final Conflict) August 24-26 in lake Tahoe.  This year, we’re really going to need it.

Are you scared? Then you’re having fun!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *